‘Twalking’ injuries – suffered while texting and walking – have risen 50 percent since 2012: including 67-year-old woman who fell down trapdoor and man who fell off cliff taking photo of sunset

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • Phone-related injuries have shot up 20 percent since 2020, data has revealed
  • Cell phones are the second most dangerous tech product in America behind TVs
  • READ MORE: Using cell phone for 2 hours a day may LOWER mental health issues

Looking down at your phone to text, check an email or scroll on social media could end with a visit to the hospital.  

Injuries from ‘twalking,’ or texting while walking, are becoming more common, with doctors seeing an increase in patients with cuts, bruises and even fractures resulting from distracted strolling.  

Messaging while on the move is soon to become the most common reason for tech injuries in the US, researchers found. 

Phones currently cause 23 percent of tech injuries nationwide – from things like tripping over cords to bumping into objects while texting.

This made phones the second most dangerous tech product in America, behind TVs, which typically lead to injuries when people try to lift them.

Texting was the biggest cause of incidents involving a phone with 334, closely followed by talking with 333 and walking with 281

It comes as academics in Australia said taking selfies should be considered a ‘public health problem.’

Decluttr – an online trade-in platform that buys unwanted tech – used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) compiled over the last decade on tech-related injuries and found they have risen 20 percent since 2020.

The increase is partly due to pandemic lockdowns leaving us more reliant on technology, the company said.

And tech-addicted millennials are most prone to accidents. 

Types of incidents included walking into lampposts and bus stops, tripping into water fountains and falling down stairs.

General pain was the most common complaint from ‘twalking’ injuries, followed by bruising and lacerations, especially to the face and head.

Dr Sean Rockett, an orthopedic doctor from New England, told DailyMail.com he has seen ‘many ankle sprains and wrist fractures from falling off curbs mostly’ while patients have been on their phones. 

A team from Australia analyzed scientific papers and media reports on injuries or deaths from selfies worldwide since 2008, and found nearly 400 had been reported over the 13-year study period — including 77 in the US.

Victims were most likely to be female tourists in their early 20s, while falling and drowning while taking a photo were the leading two causes of death.

In 2017, a 67-year-old woman plunged through a sidewalk access door in New Jersey because she was distracted by her phone.

She was then rushed to the hospital for medical treatment.

In 2015, a man died after falling from a San Diego cliff after, police believe, he had been trying to take a photo of the sunset.

‘He wasn’t watching where he was walking and looking more down at the device,’ San Diego Lifeguard Sgt. Bill Bender told CBS.

In August 2012, a Philadelphia man fell onto train tracks while on his phone, but was helped off the tracks before a train arrived.

In the same year, an Indiana mother named Bonnie Miller had to be rescued from Lake Michigan after she fell in the water while walking on a pier texting and not paying attention.

‘I had set an appointment for the wrong time and so I sent about three words. Next thing you know it was the water,’ Mrs Miller said to ABC57.com following her accident in March 2012.

Her husband realized what was going on and jumped in after her as other passersby called for help.

In 2011, 19-year-old Ryan Robbins died after a night out in Melbourne, Australia, as he accidentally walked over a short railing in a parking lot and plunged to his death while texting his friend.

Earlier this year, researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia asked 50 young adults to walk along a tiled path, which featured a sliding tile that would cause them to slip. 

They did so either without texting or while typing the phrase ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’ into their phone.

Texting was found to increase the risk of accidental falls in the study volunteers, who were recorded slipping but wore a safety harness to prevent them from actually falling to the ground and suffering injuries.

The results – that texting pedestrians risk falling over – may seem obvious, but motion sensors attached to each person provided insight into why texting while walking is potentially such a bad idea.

When people texted, their gait was less stable, and they were less able to recover their balance.

A separate, similar study published in JAMA in 2019 examined 20 years of data from emergency rooms and observed a spike in cellphone-related incidents.

Researchers found the number of head and neck injuries related to cell phones while doing things like walking increased steadily between 1998 and 2017, as cell phones became a permanent fixture in most American’s hands. 

While most of the injuries were minor, such as cuts and bruises, some were more serious and included fractures.

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