Texting your way straight to the hospital

PASADENA, Calif. It is the march of the hopelessly distracted: Heads down, phones up, thumbing their way to electronic Nirvana. The streets of Southern California are paved with text-messaging pedestrians. You can even find videos of texters walking into things on YouTube.

Leave it to humans to take something good, like opposable thumbs, and use them to power a devious machine. Then, shroud it in a cloud of convenience and connectivity.

"You get to talk to all your friends that you don't get to see really often ... Like, really fast, so, there's just a really good future about it," said text-messager Saman Sabeti.

"People are crossing the street texting and it's really unsafe. Like, anything can happen," says one woman in Pasadena.

These days, talking on a phone is something your parents do. Now, to be hip, you have to look like Captain Kirk scanning for life forms.

Your thumbs may not be in any real peril, but emergency room physician Dr. Brandon Lew says the rest of your body may be at risk because people texting while driving, or crossing streets, are an accident waiting to happen.

"We see all kinds of unusual accidents, and serous trauma accidents too, from just being distracted," says Dr. Lew.

Robin Blatt was looking down at her cell phone, texting, and just ran into a pole.

"I was knocked out ... unconscious. I was out of work for about 3 1/2 to 4 weeks," says Robin.

Robin was off to a very rocky start to her text-messaging habit. But now she says she has that habit seriously curtailed.

"Now I have my cell phone off and in my purse now, every time I'm walking," says Robin.

However, that may not be the case for scads of others who are thumbing more than their noses at personal safety.


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