5 Signs of the Smartphone Zombie Apocalypse

In my book LIFESCALE I use the following piece of information to make an important point about society’s all-encompassing distraction-a study in New York City found that 20% of teenagers struck by traffic in crosswalks were on their devices.

Ironically, they’re often hit by drivers on their smartphones. It’s a zombie on zombie jungle out there. I’m sure a lot of readers will be curious to learn more about this phenomenon, though the number of in-depth studies focusing on this topic has been slim up until now. Here are 5 interesting statistics:

  • A study published in Injury Prevention revealed that about one in three pedestrians use their mobile phones or text while crossing busy streets.1
  • People who use their cell phones while walking are 61% more likely to veer off course than those who aren’t on a device.
  • In 2013, U.S. hospitals treated almost 5,000 injuries caused by phones and phone accessories that occurred on roads, highways, and other public places.
  • Overall pedestrian deaths have been rising since 2009, and the worst cities for pedestrian deaths (relative to all traffic fatalities) were New York City (51%), Los Angeles (42%) and Chicago (30%).2
  • A report by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that the number of pedestrians killed in traffic jumped 11% in 2016, to nearly 6,200, the biggest single-year increase in pedestrian fatalities ever.3

These numbers are frightening. And they’re only going up. If you recognize yourself (or your kids) in any of these statistics, I understand your concern. I’ve become bogged down in distractibility myself.

LIFESCALE explores my journey to find a balance between my devices and my actual life. It also shares techniques and exercises we can all use to put our devices on silent at appropriate times and have the self-awareness to put them in our pockets while crossing the street. Let’s be careful out there!

1. 1 in 3 use phones, text while crossing the road by Michelle Castillo/CBS News.
[https://www.cbsnews. com/news/1-in-3-use-phones-text-whilecrossing-the-road/]

2. Distracted Walking a Major Pedestrian Safety Concern, July 16, 2017/
[https://www.safety.com/ distracted-walking-a-major-pedestrian-safetyconcern/]

3. Distraction, On Street And Sidewalk, Helps Cause Record Pedestrian Deaths/NPR by David Schaper, March 30, 2017/
[https://www.npr. org/2017/03/30/522085503/2016-saw-a-recordincrease-in-pedestrian-deaths]