LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Several cities across the U.S. are cracking down on texting while walking, amid evidence that it is becoming a growing danger.
Nationwide, the number of pedestrians who die or get hurt in accidents is on the rise, and officials say that electronic devices may be partially to blame.
Pedestrian deaths rose from 4,109 in 2009 to 4,432 in 2011, and 69,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
New York, Los Angeles and Chicago had the highest percentage of pedestrians killed relative to all traffic deaths, the agency found.
Additionally, a new study from Ohio State University found that so-called “distracted walking” causes two million injuries to pedestrians each year.
Famously, surveillance video captured a man falling off a train platform in Philadelphia while texting.
And in La Crescenta, a man who was focused on his cell phone unknowingly came face-to-face with a black bear.
The federal government has kicked off a new safety campaign encouraging pedestrians to put down their smartphones and other devices.
Cities with high pedestrian death rates can apply for a total of $2 million in safety grants to help combat the problem.
Some cities have already begun issuing citations to people for distracted walking.
The Department of Transportation has also launched an informational website, Everyone is a Pedestrian.