Go ahead. Just try to deny that you’ve ever texted while hoofing it across town. You’re only lying to yourselves, my babies. In any case, it’s time for all of us to change our ways before we kill ourselves.
On August 10 the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released a disturbing report emphasizing a burgeoning and worrisome trend. As ABC News summarizes, “After decades of decline, pedestrian fatalities are once again on the rise.”
From ABC News:
“Between the mid-1970s and 2000s, pedestrian deaths steadily declined, eventually dipping to around 11 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities...But since 2009, pedestrian fatalities have actually increased by 15 percent — climbing to 4,735 in 2013.”
Here’s another way to understand these statistics: every two hours, a pedestrian is killed.
The problem can in part be traced back to cell phone usage and, more specifically, to texting while walking. The new, wobbly term for someone who engages in this behavior is “petextrian”—unwieldy on the tongue, but it gets the point across. Wait until you cross the street to post your damn selfie. Tweet only when safely on the sidewalk, and steer clear of those walking without augmenting their personal #brands. (Please note that I am talking to myself here, as well as to all of you.)
After all, the increase in cell phone-related deaths and injuries is quite harrowing:
“the percentage of pedestrians killed while using cell phones has risen, from less than 1 percent in 2004 to more than 3.5 percent in 2010, according to a study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University, cited by the GHSA report. And the number of pedestrians injured while on their cell phones has more than doubled since 2005, the report shows.”
Teenagers are the demographic most affected, and that makes sense; their generation has grown up in the era of Text and Tweet. But “nearly 40 percent of U.S. teens have been hit or nearly hit by a passing car, motorcycle, or bike,” often due to cell-related distractions — all jokes aside, we have a critical issue on our hands.
Heed my words: your life is worth more than your #brand.
So, as you contemplate your own life choices, take a look at this video put together by Philadelphia’s “Road Safety, Not Rocket Science” campaign. It’s cheesy as hell, but it might inspire edgy fashion concepts based on the packing noodle.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image via Getty.