At this point, texting while driving is etched in stone on the never list for most of us. But what about texting while walking? For the most part, it’s been part of a running joke about a culture that’s too wrapped up in the world of technology, but there’s no doubt it’s becoming a serious issue. Studies have found that texting might actually be changing our walking patterns and some cities are even asking people to move into the left lane while texting. And it’s all for a really good reason — an annual study released this month by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that pedestrian fatalities in traffic accidents are up 10 percent from last year. Woah.

The 10 percent jump is the highest year-over-year increase in pedestrian fatalities EVER recorded in the forty-year history of the association’s reporting. Today, pedestrians account for 15 percent of all fatalities from traffic crashes.

“Pedestrian safety is clearly a growing problem across the country,” co-author Richard Retting said in a statement. “It is important to understand the data underlying these crashes so states and localities can apply the right mix of engineering, education and enforcement to counteract this troubling trend.”

And while it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the cause for the quick rise is, the researchers did suggest increased use of cellphones while walking as a big one. Another potential factor was simply that more people are walking for health and environmental reasons, meaning a higher risk for pedestrian-related accidents. And increased use of cellphones for drivers (even though texting and driving is pretty taboo at this point) also puts pedestrians at risk.

But even if there are a bunch of other potential factors, we’re definitely going be making an effort to put the phone away while walking. Replying to that text just isn’t worth the risk!

Does this news change the way you think about texting while walking? Tweet us your thoughts @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)