The federal government reported that pedestrian deaths have increased while traffic-related deaths continue to decline. This follows on the heels of a study done last summer in Seattle that discovered that an increasing number of pedestrians are hurt or killed due to distractions such as cellphones, texting and listening to music.
Common sense has virtually disappeared, and in its place are studies whose outcomes create slogans that are placed on billboards, crosswalks, bumper stickers, coffee cups and God knows where else.
One of the researchers suggested putting signs at crosswalks that say "put down your cellphone." So now, instead of not texting or talking, you have to look to see what the signs say.
I must be getting jaded and cynical, because I'm afraid we're collectively losing our ability to be responsible for our behavior.
Parents today are often doing the same things as their children when it comes to smartphones and such, so how can they model otherwise? How many of them are driving, drinking coffee and talking on their cellphone?
Now that would be an interesting research project. Caution and responsibility for one's physical and mental well-being have been exchanged for the need to attend to the sound of the cellphone ringing or the bleep of a text coming through. So you're walking across the street, the phone rings and you have to see who it is.
Distraction is fast becoming the new addiction. Not paying attention is creating losses in productivity, a decline in empathy, a reduction in face-to-face conversations, and a loss of lives.
Will we finally figure out that we really have to focus on what we're doing? I hope so, or another study will be initiated to see how many people died looking at signs to keep them safe.