We can’t simply walk around intentionally deafening ourselves with headphones or blinding ourselves with our cell phone and expect to be safe.
Okay, the title may be a bit misleading. Perhaps it should be, “Stop Staring At Your Cell Phone And Pay Attention!” or “Is that message worth your life?”
The reality is, most of the ways people get hurt is by not paying attention. We, as a people, need to be aware of the dangers around us.
Here are just some of the ways that a cell phone can kill.
Many people have either seen on the news or heard someone talk about people getting in wrecks by texting while driving. One such event happened in Knoxville, Tenn.
A Knox county school bus driver was cryptically texting people throughout the day. This is bad not only on the level that someone is risking his or her own life, but risking an entire bus full of people.
What was so important? Well communicating with his prostitute of course! The crash resulted in the death of two students and a 46-year-old teacher’s aide according to wbir.com.
Now, as said before, we have all heard the evils of texting and driving, but how about boating?
In Philadelphia a tug boat pilot was responsible for the death of two Hungarian students and threw 35 other people into the Delaware River when he struck a disabled amphibious “Duck” boat.
The pilot, while at the wheel, had 21 calls on his personal cell phone on the day of the crash. He had an emergency of his own. His young child evidently had a life-threatening emergency during a medical procedure.
This may tug at some people’s heart strings, some may even feel for the pilot, but the reality is the pilot was negligent in his duties, killed two people, and risked the lives of many others.
This is one of the biggest problems with cell phones. The instant communication of problems. There was nothing the pilot could do for his son.
The only thing that can come from knowledge like this is distraction. Heck, in this instance it may not have been the cell phone that caused the crash, but his own mental state of knowing his son could die.
2. Walking Blind
Another incident involving a “Duck” style boat. A 68-year-old woman decided to cross the street while the light, for the vehicle, was green.
Witness reports say that the woman was apparently looking down at what seemed to be a mobile device and ignored the street lights. She didn’t make it.
A Michigan woman was walking along the pier in South Bend Ind. with her husband and son. She realized she had made an appointment for the wrong time and went to work to fix it on her phone.
So focused on her task she managed to fall backwards about six feet into Lake Michigan. The woman suffered no severe injuries, but it is a staunch reminder that we can’t safely stare into our glowing screens while moving about.
Another such incident happened on Dec. 25th. A 20-year-old man went to Sunset Cliffs in Beach, Calif. to, well, watch the sunset. Unfortunately he decided to walk around cliffs while staring at either his cellphone or his camera and fell 60 feet to his death.
A little situational awareness can save lives.
3. Walking Deaf
But our eyes aren’t the only thing we use to stay alive. We use our ears too.
A 24-year old man was struck and killed at an Auckland train station. His friend claimed that he would often listen to music on his commute to work.
This particular day there were two trains. After the first passed he proceeded to attempt to cross the track, and was struck by the second train that he didn’t see.
Why didn’t he notice a train? Well there are lots of trains so the vibrations don’t give information, but if he had not been listening to music, he may have heard the warning signals.
If he had not been messaging his friends, he may have seen the train.
This is probably the only category that the cell phone user isn’t to blame, but it’s still important to consider.
This was a long time ago, but back in 2009 a china man died from a cell phone explosion. Allegedly the man bought a new battery, charged it, put it in the phone, and placed the phone in his breast pocket.
An explosion notified co workers who found the many lying on the ground in a pool of blood. The cell phone battery exploded and managed to sever a major artery. He didn’t make it.
Stories like the above are more of an issue in so-called “third” world countries where low quality, dangerous and often counterfeit products run rampant. However, sometimes manufacture defects still occur.
This year, 2015, a New York man suffered injuries from such an explosion. The man kept his iPhone 5C in the front pocket of his pants where it exploded.
The man claimed that didn’t even warm up, “It just went straight to burn.” The burns were so intense that he had to stay in a burn warden for over a week.
Except for the rare battery mishaps, all of these people could have been saved death, injury or humiliation by simply paying more attention.
Some tips? When walking, don’t stare at the phone or tablet. Even if it’s somewhere relatively safe like a home, someone could easily walk into something and shatter that $xxx device or suffer a concussion walking into a cabinet.
Don’t walk around with music blasting in both ears. Cars are quiet these days, so quiet, in fact, that they can’t be heard over the sound of a simple skateboard rolling down the asphalt.
Many readers may think, “Hell, I can walk, talk and chew bubble gum, these people are just idiots,” but is it really worth the risk? Most of the people mentioned here probably felt the same way.
We all love our nifty gadgets. It’s great being able to talk to or listen to whoever or whatever we want on demand.
However, we need to stop staring at our phones all the time, and if we must listen to music, only listen with one ear.
New Year’s resolution? While your out and about, put down the mobile device and live for another year.