Eyes Up, Phone Down!

Mobile phone use (texting, emailing, and talking) while walking is increasingly apparent in our society. Per a recent survey (Liberty Mutual Insurance, 2013), as many as 60% of pedestrians use mobile phones while crossing the street. These increasingly common behaviors are being linked to increased risk for pedestrian incidents and injuries. In the U.S., accidents involving phone distracted pedestrians are estimated to have increased three-fold from 2004-10 (Nasar & Troyer, 2013).

Stanford University is not immune to such risk; over the past few years, serious pedestrian incidents have occurred at Campus intersections, stairways, and walkways. With the high prevalence of mobile phone use at Stanford and increasing Campus traffic and construction activities, pedestrians and bicyclists are urged to take simple safety measures, including but not limited to the following:

  • Be continually aware of your surroundings
  • Stop if you need to use the phone
  • Avoid headphone use while walking and bicycling, especially in high-traffic areas
  • Before crossing the street, look both ways for oncoming car/bicycle traffic. Make eye contact with motorists and cyclists before crossing.
  • Use handrails when walking up/down stairs

Additional safety awareness materials are available below. If there are any questions, please contact EH&S (723-0448 or http://ehs.stanford.edu).


Liberty Mutual Insurance Company (2013). Distracted walking: Danger on the crosswalk. Retrieved 10/31/13 from http://www.libertymutual.com/safe-and-smart-living/auto-articles/pedestrian-safety.

Nasar, J. & Troyer, D. (2013). Pedestrian injuries due to mobile phone use in public places. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 57, 91-5. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2013.03.021

Distracted Walking Posters

Your Phone is Trying to Tell You Something

Texting and Walking can be Dangerous to Your Health!

For any questions, contact EH&S- Industrial Hygiene / Safety Program at 723-0448.