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Distracted Walking Presents Safety Problems for Students

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Texting and driving is dangerous and illegal in West Virginia.

Texting and walking can be dangerous too.

"Occasionally I'll check my email, sometimes send a text message," said West Virginia University student Josh Childs.

"I was walking with my friend one time and we were about to cross a normal street like this. A car was coming by and we weren't paying attention, and it was close, but nothing really bad happened," said student Adam Ahlstrom.

Headphones in, and heads down is a scene you can see all across the country, and it's especially a problem at universities.

"Pedestrians and cars, and there aren't too many people who win when that collision happens," said WVU Police Chief Bob Roberts. "So it's really important for pedestrians to be more alert."

The National Highway Safety Transportation Association said in 2010, more than 150,000 people were injured in a pedestrian-vehicle accident, and fatal incidents are on the rise too.

Roberts said incidents are on the rise because many people aren't paying attention.

"Most of them can be attributed to people walking out in the wrong places," he said. "They're not looking before they walk. You see that more and more today. People are working on their cell phones and texting. They're just not paying attention."

It's not just cars distracted walkers have to look for. Curbs, polls, and weather can present issues.

"It gets icy and if I'm using my phone to text sometimes I don't see black ice so I've slipped but not fallen," said Ahlstrom.

"There is a real possibility to run into other people, and other people are using their cell phones as well," said student Katie Webster.

"Sometimes if people are walking side-by-side, you have to side-step them when they're not paying attention and their on your side of the street," added Childs.

"If you're out walking you should just walk and concentrate on what's around you and your surroundings," said Roberts. "Then when you get to where you're going you look at your phone and text, but doing the two together is not a safe thing to do."