Important safety alert: The dangers of texting while breathing

In our increasingly technology-bound culture, cell phone use has exploded over the past decade. A recent report indicates there are now more cell phones in the USA than people, and three times more cell phone users than Americans who can locate the United States on a map of North America.

People use their cell phones to do all sorts of things – a few have even been known to use them to place phone calls. But mostly, people use their cell phones to text thought-provoking comments like Hey.

Studies indicate that the dangers of cell phone texting extend far beyond texting while driving. Health experts have recently argued that texting should be avoided during any of the following “high-risk” activities:

  • During skydiving lessons – particularly the part having to do with opening the chute
  • Any time you are using farm threshing equipment or are engaged in iron ore smelting
  • While performing a circumcision (with a special warning to rabbis over age 75)
  • During any scientific experiment in which you are tethered to the exterior of the International Space Station

Experts also discourage texting while swimming – although in full disclosure, they point out that unless you’re bleeding in shark-infested waters, the danger is probably greater to the cell phone than to the texter.

Now, add one more high-risk activity to the list: Texting while walking. For many people, walking is a challenging feat all by itself – just ask my daughter when she was 17 months old or my neighbor Bert Zablinski after his weekly Friday night game of Tequila Shot Twister. Apparently, walking, when combined with texting, can have embarrassing results – and may even be deadly.

Last year, a woman was caught on a video surveillance camera texting while walking through the concourse of a shopping mall. She stumbled right into the mall fountain, gracefully entering the water with a half twist in the pike position, scoring all 9’s except for a 6.5 from the Russian judge.

Earlier this year, a Michigan woman walking along a pier was so distracted from texting that she tripped and fell into Lake Michigan. It could have been much worse, however; it could have been Lake Erie. Her final text before she nosedived into the frigid waters of Lake Michigan was reportedly Did U C the Ellen sho- … Thankfully, no fish were harmed by her plunge.

Even my own sister recently was texting and got so distracted she ran into a door in her own home, breaking her toe (true). She is suing Verizon Wireless for $2 million for bodily pain and emotional suffering caused by their negligent unlimited text messaging plan.

Texting and walking almost turned deadly recently when a California man who was texting almost walked right into a bear. The bear was wandering in a suburban neighborhood – apparently looking for a healthy snack such as a high-fiber Labradoodle. The man, distracted by texting, walked up to within a few feet of the bear before noticing the 300-pound carnivore in his path. Upon seeing the bear right in front of him, he took decisive action, texting, WTF!! OMG!! IT’S A BEAR!!  It took two tranquilizer darts to take down the bear – and two more to get the man to stop texting. There are no reports as to what the bear may have been texting at the time of the incident.

These latest incidents have led concerned AT&T Wireless operators to expand their ever-growing list of proscribed activities while texting to include:

  • Texting in close proximity to a 300-pound bear
  • Texting during sex – unless done very discreetly (good luck with that)
  • Texting during a job interview – unless the person you’re texting is the interviewer and they’re into emoticons
  • Texting an ex-girlfriend while in the presence of your soon-to-be-next-ex-girlfriend
  • Texting an ex-girlfriend if you’re in close proximity to a 300-pound bear, while engaging in sex during a job interview – this is dangerous – and wrong – on so many levels.

There is increasing evidence that in addition to posing a serious health risk, texting may also be hazardous to long-term friendships for people over age 19. Experts studying the causal relation between incessantly using mobile technology and being an annoying, self-absorbed jerk, point out that many people who have lives are irritated by cell phone users who can’t resist the urge to send text burps in inappropriate settings, such as weddings, funerals, or while batting cleanup for the Seattle Mariners.

These same experts discourage managers from texting in delicate professional situations like termination interviews or annual employee performance reviews unless it’s deemed absolutely necessary to communicate that what the employee just did was so hilariously lame that it caused you to text ROTFLMAO (rolling on the floor laughing my ass off).

I must confess, in writing this week’s column, I found myself repeatedly distracted by a barrage of text messages from my daughters, my wife, my golfing buddies, and some guy wanting to know if I’d like to save 15% or more on my car insurance. As a result, I apologize if this post is not up to my usual third-grade writing standards. Perhaps they should add texting while humor writing to the list of high-risk activities.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base. TTYL.

Tim Jones - Profile at Safeco - Tiny PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2014

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  • Published On May. 31, 2012 by TEJ

    1. Drew Fisher

      There you go again, Tim, getting a cheap laugh at the expense of my neighbor in Mendham, NJ, Chris Christie. It isn’t his fault that he has the approximate proportions of a bear — well, actually, it is, and he refuses to do anything about it. It was his predecessor, Jon Corzine, who was almost killed while texting on the Garden State Parkway — and he wasn’t even driving at the time! I would like to thank Cheryl, waitress at the Wolf Road Diner in Colonie, NY, for making me feel exceptionally old and irrelevant by passing my table last year as I was sending a text and commenting, “Hmph! Look at YOU texting!” If she had only known that the following Sunday, I was getting married. True!

    2. Lee

      Ha!!! Tequila Shot Twister!!! How did I not know about that when I lived in Puerto Vallarta?? I think I’ll text some friends and see if I can get a game going…

    3. Jeanne Whalen

      What do you mean it’s not up to your usual third grade writing standards ? I bet to differ. I still love you,

      Your ex-girlfriend (not)

    4. Eleanor Rushworth (Yer MiL)

      Texing or is it texting? What is this? What happened to talking?

    5. Pam N

      I think it’s totally irresponsible for people to text while performing any task that requires even a modium of concentration – driving, walking in busy places, listening to your sister tell you about her marital woes by telephone, etc. Fortunately, the same can’t be said for READING, and therefore I absolve myself of any responsibility for narrowly missing being hit by a car while out walking the dog (as Tim would say, “TRUE STORY”). Walking is my favorite time to catch up on my reading, and I was at particulatly engrossing part of my book (“Fifty Shades of Gray” – who knew ben wa balls came in such a variety of colors?) while strolling across a driveway when I happened to notice that a car was backing out and was about two feet from me. Nevertheless, I learned a lesson; I’ve gone back to reading under the covers with a flashlight, where such dangerous behavior belongs.

      Sorry – is this column supposed to be rated PG?

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