Texting and walking: strategies for postural control and implications for safety

Schabrun, Siobhan M., van den Hoorn, Wolbert, Moorcroft, Alison, Greenland, Cameron and Hodges, Paul W. (2014) Texting and walking: strategies for postural control and implications for safety. Plos One, 9 1: . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084312

Author Schabrun, Siobhan M.
van den Hoorn, Wolbert
Moorcroft, Alison
Greenland, Cameron
Hodges, Paul W.
Title Texting and walking: strategies for postural control and implications for safety
Journal name Plos One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2014-01-22
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0084312
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 9
Issue 1
Total pages 8
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Subject 1100 Agricultural and Biological Sciences
1300 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
2700 Medicine
Abstract There are concerns about the safety of texting while walking. Although evidence of negative effects of mobile phone use on gait is scarce, cognitive distraction, altered mechanical demands, and the reduced visual field associated with texting are likely to have an impact. In 26 healthy individuals we examined the effect of mobile phone use on gait. Individuals walked at a comfortable pace in a straight line over a distance of ∼8.5 m while; 1) walking without the use of a phone, 2) reading text on a mobile phone, or 3) typing text on a mobile phone. Gait performance was evaluated using a three-dimensional movement analysis system. In comparison with normal waking, when participants read or wrote text messages they walked with: greater absolute lateral foot position from one stride to the next; slower speed; greater rotation range of motion (ROM) of the head with respect to global space; the head held in a flexed position; more in-phase motion of the thorax and head in all planes, less motion between thorax and head (neck ROM); and more tightly organized coordination in lateral flexion and rotation directions. While writing text, participants walked slower, deviated more from a straight line and used less neck ROM than reading text. Although the arms and head moved with the thorax to reduce relative motion of the phone and facilitate reading and texting, movement of the head in global space increased and this could negatively impact the balance system. Texting, and to a lesser extent reading, modify gait performance. Texting or reading on a mobile phone may pose an additional risk to safety for pedestrians navigating obstacles or crossing the road.
Keyword Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID ID1002190
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
Available Versions of this Record
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 27 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 47 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Thu, 16 Feb 2017, 13:32:49 EST by Alison Moorcroft on behalf of School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences