JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- You probably know texting and driving can be dangerous, but have you ever thought about the potential dangers of texting and walking?
We set up our cameras in several parts of town and caught dozens of distracted walkers in the act. Some barely missed being hit by cars.
From texting to talking to surfing the web from the palm of your hand, smart phones are a huge part of our lives, and many of us are too busy to slow down and sit down to take care of business.
"Yea, I'm guilty of it. He's had to stop me. We'll be walking next to each other and he'll pull me aside if I'm about to walk into somebody or something," said Kandice Young.
We spotted one woman across from The Jacksonville Landing downtown. She looked up as she walked across the street but then quickly turned back to her phone. We saw the same thing over and over again.
Reporter: "Do you text and drive?"
Laurie Willis: "Absolutely not."
Reporter: "Do you text and walk?"
Willis: "Now that I probably do a little. I'm guilty of that. Yes. Haha"
Reporter, "Has it crossed your mind as being potentially dangerous?"
Willis: "Texting and walking? Nothing I've really thought about, but I don't think I've ever run into anything."
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), distracted walking injuries have quadrupled in the past seven years. The CPSC looked at data from 100 emergency rooms and about 1,150 people were treated at hospitals last year for injuries they got while walking and using a mobile phone or other electronic device.
"I can see where it's dangerous now that I think about it because I do text and walk a lot and you're not looking where you are going, paying attention where you are going a lot, and I've bumped people before and pretty much doors and everything from time to time," said Chris Hendrick.
It's not just adults who may be putting themselves in harm's way. The latest report from SafeKids, a global nonprofit, shows in 2009 that 75 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds in the United States owned cell phones.
When it comes to those under the age of 19, teens are now most at risk of being injured as pedestrians. SafeKids thinks that's likely related to distraction caused by the use of electronics and hand held devices.
In the last five years, injuries among 16- to 19-year-olds increased 25 percent over the previous five years.
"We have more devices in our hands. We have more devices in front of our faces. A lot of our interaction is not all around us but right in front of us," said Dr. Rich Westenberger.
That's why Westenbarger, an Emergency Medicine doctor at Shands said he's not surprised the number of distracted walking injuries in on the rise. He's said the range of injuries can vary from a simple sprain to much worse.
"You could actually fall down," said Westenbarger. "That's when we see broken bones whether it's your hands, sometimes even your face. Really the worse case scenario are things when a pedestrian is struck by something larger, a car, a truck. Those kinds of things and those injuries are very severe and we actually see fatalities with that as well."
Bottom line: You may want to think twice about using that smartphone while walking. If you don't, it could have serious consequences.
Reporter: "Does it make you think twice about checking a text, checking an email, while you are walking?"
"It does now. Before I never really thought about it it's kind of like walking and chewing gum at the same time I guess," said Troy Coldin.
Several states have considered distracted walking legislation but to date, no such laws have been passed.
First Coast News