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Cell-Related Injuries on the Rise

Update Date: Jun 21, 2013 04:29 PM EDT
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When texting first started and became very popular amongst cellphone users of all ages, researchers started noting the dangerous side effects of texting. Since texting requires both hands and eyes, it can lead to several injuries, especially when people are texting and driving. Now, with numerous new applications and games available on smartphones, people are becoming even more easily distracted. A new study reported that the number of injuries that resulted from cellphone usage, regardless of what the individual is doing on the phone, has increased drastically.

The study, headed by researchers Jack Nasar, a professor of city and regional planning at the Ohio State University and Derek Troyer from the Ohio Department of Transportation, used data taken from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. The data available on this system were compiled from over 100 hospitals within the United States. The researchers found that from 2004 to 2010, the number of cellphone related injuries has more than doubled.

In 2004, cellphones were tied to 559 injuries. This number fell to 256 in 2005. Since then, the number has risen once more with 2010 recording over 1,500 emergency room admittances due to cell phones. The researchers found that 69 percent of the injuries resulted from people walking while talking on their phones. Nine percent was due to texting. The remaining 24 percent was due to other cellphone related activities, such as reaching, emailing, and looking.

The researchers also concluded that 1,003 injuries occurred in the age group of 21 to 25-year-olds. Around 985 cellphone injuries related to being distracted while walking happened in the age group of 16 to 20-year-olds. These findings suggest that the youth are at the greatest risk of suffering from cell-phone related injuries. The researchers found that the injuries ranged from severe, such as concussions and fractures, to mild, which included sprains and abrasions.

"If current trends continue, I wouldn't be surprised if the number of injuries to pedestrians caused by cellphones doubles again between 2010 and 2015," said Nasar. The researchers believe that their numbers are still underestimating how many people get hurt when using their cellphones.

The findings will be available in the August edition of Accident Analysis and Prevention

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