On a mobile? You're a walking accident

Research has confirmed what many of us suspect - walking while talking on a mobile phone increases your chances of having an accident.

Those who cross the road while chatting on a phone raise their chance of being hit by a car by 15 per cent, research reveals.

Older people are particularly at risk because their multi-tasking skills decline with increasing age, the researchers said.

Child talking on mobile phone

Those who cross the road while chatting on a phone raise their chance of being hit by a car by 15 per cent, research reveals

In two studies volunteers were asked to cross a 'virtual' street while either talking on a hands-free phone, listening to music on an iPod or doing neither.

In the first study, 45 college students aged 28 and under who were using phones took 25 per cent longer to cross the same street under the same conditions than those listening to an iPod or doing neither. They were also more likely to be run over.

In the second study healthy adults aged between 60 and 80 were given the same tasks.

The differences between those on and off the phone were even more striking in the older group, said Art Kramer, professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, who led the research.

'Older adults on the phone got run over about 15 per cent more often than those not on the phone,' said Prof Kramer.

'When you are multi-tasking, neither task gets done as well as the brain is, to an extent, overloaded.

'The problem with talking on the phone is ensuring that prioritisation is given to the task that stops you getting run over - watching where you are going.

'Sometimes the brain doesn't manage it' he added.

Last month U.S. researchers found three out of four men and women making calls on a mobile phone failed to notice a clown riding past them on his unicycle.

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