The dangers of distracted walking are the focus of researchers at UAB. A study determined that roughly a third of the people crossing the intersection of University Blvd. and 14th St. are looking at phones. The university's psychology and computer science departments are collaborating on development of an app to warn pedestrians as they enter a busy intersection.
"We continuously see pedestrians walking across streets while using their smartphones and not paying attention to their surroundings," said Dr. David Schwebel, associate dean for Research in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. "Interventions to reduce distractions while walking across the street are few and far between. Our team is looking to develop, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of Bluetooth beacon technology to provide warnings to pedestrians who may be in danger of getting hurt or even dying."
More than 4,800 pedestrians are killed in the U.S. by distacted walking annually, according to the CDC.