(Charles LeBlanc/Flickr)

Texting while walking increases risk of getting hit by car: UBC study

Engineers found that distracted pedestrians had more trouble maintaining walking speed and gait

Distracted drivers are responsible for many collisions in B.C., but a new study is pointing the finger at the risk of distracted walking.

A new study out of UBC on Tuesday suggests people who walk and text at the same time walk more slowly and less steadily, increasing the risk of getting hit by a vehicle.

Engineers used automated video analysis to examine the movements and walking behaviour of pedestrians at a busy four-way intersection in Kamloops. Through three mounted cameras, they analyzed 357 pedestrians over two days.

“We found that more than a third of pedestrians were distracted by their cellphones – texting and reading or talking and listening,” said lead author Rushdi Alsaleh.

“Distracted pedestrians had more trouble maintaining their walking speed and gait and took longer to cross the road, increasing the potential for conflict with vehicles.”

The movements of the distracted pedestrians also differed, depending on how they were using their devices.

Those who were texting or reading took shorter steps without slowing their step frequency, while those who were talking on their phone took slower steps without changing the length of their strides.

The results can also help keep pedestrians safe when it comes to driverless cars, Alsaleh said.

An autonomous vehicle can be programmed to recognize distracted pedestrians from their walking patterns, he said, and appropriate evasive actions to avoid an accident.

“Our research is focused on explaining how accidents occur on roads by better modelling the behaviour of people and cars on the road,” said Tarek Sayed, a civil engineering professor at UBC.

“We hope that our methods can be used to calibrate pedestrian simulation programs more accurately, helping planners to build safer roads and engineers to design smarter autonomous vehicles.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Okanagan RCMP look for owners of various keys located during arrest

RCMP seek to reunite the owners of various keys found at the arrest of suspects in a stolen vehicle.

PHOTOS: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Okanagan child and youth development centre honours valued supporters

The OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre hosted annual sponsor appreciation evening

Intersection getting safety upgrade

Be prepared for traffic changes in Penticton’s industrial area

Summerland housing issues raised at candidate forum

High housing costs, low vacancy rates and lack of affordable housing addressed

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

VOTE: Nature in Focus reader’s choice photo contest

The Penticton Western News Reader’s Choice photo contest

Who’s running in Penticton’s election?

Candidates for the Penticton municipal and school board election

MCFD, FPSSS restricts caregivers from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care

Ministry restricts cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Baby boomer buba shares heartfelt novel with Okanagan audience

Pauline Daniel will be at Vernon’s Bookland and library Oct. 20

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

Most Read