Distracted to Death

by | Jun 21, 2020

Is it Darwinism in full effect, or is something else going on? I remember as a teenager, the most significant distractions to me were sports and girls, but today is much different. Most youth and adults are distracted by a computer next to their ears. People are being Distracted to Death daily, and the numbers are rapidly growing.

According to the Reader’s Digest, 60 percent of people texting while walking veered off course in a study published in 2012 by researchers from New York’s Stony Brook University.” Also,” According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 5,000 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 76,000 injured in traffic collisions in the United States in 2012. That’s one death every 2 hours and an injury every 7 minutes.”

I never thought there would be a day when you could go online and see multiples sites with tips on how to walk safely! You can go to the NHTSA website to find some of those guides in regards to Pedestrian Safety.
Also, you can check out the National Safety Council TIPS. Hard to imagine we need to tell people this, but it appears we do, so remember:


  • Do not talk or text while walking.
  • If you must talk or text, put your back against some barrier and keep your head up and eyes on the surroundings.
  • Do not cross or walk in the street while using your cellphone or MP3 device.
  • Keep your earbuds or headphones out of your ears.

Be aware of your surroundings, especially in congested areas. How do you do that? Refer to our video here https://youtu.be/NR6Q3Ujzicc

One of the top considerations to an attacker is targeting someone who is distracted regarding one’s safety. If you were going to choose a potential victim, would you not want them to be distracted? Most criminals do not want to get caught so who better to attack than someone not paying attention.

The argument we sometimes hear is that if one is attacked while on their cellphone, they can let their contact on the other end know. But think about that, odds are if you are on your cellphone and distracted, to begin with, that passing Holy Shit moment not knowing what is happening will prevent you from getting any message across of being in danger while in the middle of an attack. And there is an excellent chance your cellphone is no longer in your hands, and if your friend on the other end of the line has no idea where you are exactly, they can do little to assist you.

The average response time when you call 911 ranges from a few minutes in the best case to up to the past 15 minutes. A lot of harm can come to someone in that amount of time. Here is a link to the Best and Worst Police Response Times of 10 Major U.S. Cities. Also, many will find the following article to be fascinating: https://gungoal.com/blogs/police-response-time-why-you-should-own-guns/

Another dangerous distraction is the use of MP3 Players, which again fall into the category of devices that distract you, thus increasing your targeting to the “bad guy.” If you take one of your primary senses away, it makes sense that you have less awareness of any potential threats. And sadly, some may target you for your music device.
These devices can be costly, making them an attractive item to steal. You have the double disadvantage of being distracted by them and possibly wanting to take them.

I had one woman tell me she understands how they can be dangerous, so when walking, she would keep it turned off sometimes, so if someone were to attack her, she would be aware of them increasing her chances of defending herself. While that does have some logic, I indicated the goal should be to avoid being attacked, to begin with, and because she had the earbuds in to appear she was distracted, the “bad guy” would not know that so they would have no reason not to attack. She paused and said, “I never considered that!”


Another simple but effective distraction technique is merely asking someone for the time. When someone asks you whether you have a watch on or your cellphone, what do you do? You look down, allowing one to close the distance very quickly, whether to harm or steal from you. Be sure to keep at a safe distance and don’t look down at a watch or cell phone. Bring arm up so you can keep an eye on them while giving the time.

Asking for directions also works well to distract someone. When someone asks you for directions, be sure to keep a safe distance and not turn your back to the person. An attacker will try to get you to turn your back to execute their attack. When a car pulls up to the curb, and someone asks for directions, keep at a safe distance. Quite often, the person in the vehicle will act or talk in a low voice, which is an excellent way to distract you from getting closer to the car. Most people are polite and helpful and do not think of potential hazards before helping.


Keep SAFE!

Chris Roberts
Managing Director, SAFE International