Numbers Of Pedestrians Crossing Intersections While Distracted By Electronic Devices Is Dangerously High According To Research by William Paterson Professor

--Risk of injury from distracted walking is a growing national concern, according to Corey Basch, EdD, William Paterson University associate professor of public health

William Paterson University public health professor Dr. Corey Basch studied more than 21,000 pedestrians at five dangerous and busy Manhattan intersections and discovered that nearly half crossing on a “DON’T WALK” signal and nearly one-third of pedestrians crossing on a “WALK” signal were wearing headphones, talking on a mobile phone, and/or looking down at an electronic device. The most prevalent distracted behavior was headphone use, a behavior that impairs the ability to register important audible warnings.

“It came as a surprise that there were so many pedestrians distracted by technology during the walk signal, but the fact that there were even more distracted by technology crossing on a ‘don't walk’ signal is astonishing. It's clearly a public health concern given that these intersections are incredibly busy and have been singled out as being dangerous,” said Basch.

Basch’s study, “Pedestrian Behavior at Five Dangerous and Busy Manhattan Intersections,” was recently published in The Journal of Community Health.

A significant number of pedestrians are injured and killed in traffic crashes locally and nationally. In the U.S. in 2010, more than 4,000 pedestrians were killed, and another 70,000 injured in traffic crashes.

Basch first conducted a pilot study in 2014, which was the first study of distracted walking in New York City. Similar studies in Seattle and San Francisco by other researchers produced varying, but similar, results.

The study is available at


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