(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

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

Nuslhiixwta – A Place of Treasures – celebrates new name

After months of thought and deliberation, Healthy Beginnings now has a new name.

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

Tommy Chong says Canada took wrong approach to pot legalization

He also talked about the likelihood of another Cheech and Chong film

Facebook reveals bug gave apps unauthorized access to 6.8 million users’ photos

It’s believed up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers had access to Facebook Stories, private photos

Lower-than-expected parcel volumes helping cut into backlog, says Canada Post

The Crown corporation says that’s largely because it is taking in fewer holiday parcels than expected

Trapped B.C. crash survivor celebrates second chance at life

“Life is good now. It’s good to be alive.”

Increase in downed power lines in B.C., how to stay safe

BC Hydro study finds a third of British Columbians may be putting themselves at risk

Judge sets bail at $2.5 million in 1987 slaying of B.C. couple

William Talbott II, 55, is charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder

EU leaders vow to press on with ‘no-deal’ Brexit plans

European Union leaders have offered Theresa May sympathy but no promises, as the British prime minister seeks a lifeline.

Powerful winds set to hit Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island

The agency says winds in coastal areas will strengthen up to 70 kilometres an hour before the front moves inland and gusts reach 90 kilometres an hour.

Mandatory victim surcharge cruel and unusual punishment, top court rules

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

Most Read