We all know about the dangers of texting while driving — but what about texting while walking?

It may be funny to see someone so engrossed in a texting session that she stumbles into a mall fountain, but that aside, the practice deemed “distracted walking” can be truly dangerous.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 1,200 people were treated in US emergency rooms last year after walking-related mishaps associated with handheld devices.

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital, said he’s treated injuries including facial fractures, broken noses, sprained ankles and even blunt head trauma. And in Fort Lee, NJ, just across the Hudson River from New York City, 74 texting pedestrians were struck and two were killed in the past year alone.

While states like Delaware, Utah, Arkansas and Illinois have tried to pass distracted walking bills, all have failed. Officials in Fort Lee, alarmed by the incidents there, have started handing out $85 tickets to residents caught jaywalking and texting to try to cut down on those accidents.

“I think people aren’t quite aware of how dangerous distracted walking can be,” Dr. Glatter said. “Keeping your head down while walking and not looking ahead of you can lead to a significant incident of injuries.”

Of course, with young people more and more interested in texting, who knows how long before this problem is adequately addressed?

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