Distracted Walking Injuries Spike Due to Texting

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Distracted walking injuries are up nationwide, according to a new study, with electronic devices seen as a cause of many pedestrian-related accidents.

Picture a young man walking and texting by a lonely train platform at night. He stumbles, loses his balance and pitches over the side, landing on the tracks.

Fortunately there were no trains approaching the Philadelphia station and he scrambled to safety. But the incident underscores the risk of distracted walking.

In response, Philadelphia officials began a safety campaign aimed at pedestrians who are looking at their devices instead of where they're going.

The above viral video, featuring the city's Mayor, Michael Nutter, was released as an April Fool's Day joke ... which some people didn't realize was a joke.

The video introduced a special lane for texting and walking.

"The sad part is we had people who, once they realized we were taking the 'e-lane' away, got mad," said Rina Cutler, deputy mayor for transportation.

"They thought it was a really good idea and actually very helpful to not have people get in their way while they were walking and texting."

The issue isn't as widely discussed as distracted driving, but the danger is real. Reports of injuries to distracted walkers have quadrupled in the past seven years.

There has been a spike in pedestrians killed and injured in traffic accidents, though there is no reliable data on how many were distracted by electronics.

In any case, city dwellers, pick your heads up. Those vitally important texts, breaking Facebook updates and hilarious Tweets can wait a few seconds.