My Take

Curse of the city's text-mad zombies

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 January, 2014, 3:03am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 January, 2014, 3:16am

How many studies do we need before we accept something is true? Yet another study came out last week - this time by Virginia Tech researchers who wired up the subjects and their cars with video cams and sensors - to say texting while driving is dangerous. Duh!

Even reading road signs can send some drivers off track, let alone trying to check that Facebook update from your mum on a tiny screen.

While it is a no-brainer to find texting while driving is a bad idea, it does come as a jolt when you learn how dangerous texting can be even when you are walking. A 2011 study in the United States found more than 4,000 people died and nearly 70,000 were injured due to texting while walking.

In this regard, it might be worth carrying out a study on the impact of texting and walking on Hong Kong citizens.

But that study should also take into account the rise in blood pressure among those standing behind those people who go around fixated on their screen while blocking everyone's path.

The number of injured among this texting-mad brigade may not be great. For that, credit should probably be given to the gentle souls who fill crowded city spaces such as on our MTR trains. Most keep their sharp elbows and even darker thoughts to themselves, knowing well that even a polite cough from behind invokes the wrath of the text zombies.

They are the same everywhere, it seems. In 2011, a video went viral of a woman who fell into a Pennsylvania mall fountain while texting and walking. She later threatened to sue the mall and its security guards.

At least she should be thankful she wasn't on the streets of Montrose, California, in 2012 when a texting man almost bumped into a 180-kilo black bear which was roaming the area looking for food.

One man who decided to wage war on text zombies is an assembly member in Nevada state. A Democrat from Las Vegas, Harvey Munford early last year introduced a bill banning texting while walking and wanted to impose a fine of up to US$250 for violators.

A quick look at the state legislature's website last week did not say the bill has been put to a vote.

Maybe some of the members are still reading it - on their mobile phones on the way home.