Tourist walks off pier in Australia while checking Facebook on smartphone

honolulu texting walking street ban distracted
SV Luma / Shutterstock

In another example of how smartphones can invade our senses to such an extent we become oblivious to where we are or where we’re going, a Taiwanese tourist in Australia has ended up in the sea after walking off the end of a pier while checking her Facebook page.

Thankfully the woman was fine, as was her smartphone, which she kept a firm grip of throughout her ordeal.

The pier in question was in St. Kilda, Melbourne, and judging from the photo below, it’s easy to see how someone not paying full attention could end up in the water.

st kilda pier
If you must check your social media sites while walking along St. Kilda pier, keep left.

Senior Constable Dean Kelly of Victoria police told ABC News that after responding to an emergency call from a witness, officers discovered the woman floating a short distance from the pier.

“She was still out in the water lying on her back in a floating position because she told us later that she couldn’t swim,” Kelly said, adding, “She still had her mobile phone in her hand and initially she apologized… she said, ‘I was checking my Facebook page on the phone and I’ve fallen in’.”

As smartphone ownership continues to spread around the world, this won’t be the last time we hear of someone walking off the edge of a pier, off a cliff, onto a highway, or into an industrial freezer while checking their Facebook page or some other social media site.

It’s already happened plenty of times – earlier this year, a British woman by the name of Laura Safe plunged into a canal while texting her boyfriend. Then there was American Bonnie Miller, who fell into an Indiana river while using her phone. And in an incident of a slightly different nature, some guy in Texas drove off a bridge apparently just after sending a message which said, “I need to quit texting.”

Data published by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2012 found that more than 1,150 people in the US were treated in hospitals in the space of 12 months after being involved in so-called ‘distracted walking’ incidents, marking a four-fold increase over the previous seven years.

What we could be looking at in the not-too-distant future is the incorporation into smartphones of technology similar to Juan David Hincapié-Ramos’s CrashAlert system, which uses sensors to analyze the surroundings of a walking handset user, alerting them to potential hazards. Juan’s system is currently a prototype device, and a bulky one at that, but with further development it could certainly help smartphone-obsessed folk avoid some embarrassing or potentially dangerous incidents.

[via BBC] [Top image: SV Luma; bottom image: Serguei Levykin / Shutterstock]

Mobile

Rekindled yet again, Nokia’s next-gen phones offer more than just nostalgia

HMD Global, a startup that designs and builds Nokia Android smartphones, wants to put the Nokia brand name back “where it belongs.” It helps that it’s made up of ex-Nokia employees. We go behind the scenes to see how HMD formed.
Movies & TV

From premiere date to footage: Here's all we have on 'Game of Thrones' season 8

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Mobile

Want more power, but faster? This new charging tech claims it can deliver

Chunky power bricks and slow charging could be a thing of the past with GaNFast technology from Navitas Semiconductors. By using an alternative to silicon, GaNFast reduces power consumption and boosts output.
Wearables

Swatch and Mastercard team up for on-the-wrist, on-the-go mobile payments

Swatch has announced its Swatchpay technology is now available in Switzerland, enabling mobile payments from your Swatch watch. It works in a similar way to Apple Pay and Google Pay. Here's everything about it.
Mobile

Do these Geekbench results accurately represent the Moto G7?

The Moto G6 range is still relatively new to the market, but rumors have already started about the Moto G7, which is expected some time in 2019. Apparently, a G7 Power version will be joining the G7, G7 Play, and G7 Plus.
Mobile

Sony is showing something off at MWC -- will it be the Xperia XZ4?

Sony may have released the Xperia XZ3 in the past few months, but already it's preparing to release a follow-up, the Xperia XZ4. We're learning plenty about the phone now some details have started to leak out, and it's getting exciting.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Mobile

Is this the first image of a Galaxy S10 being used in real life?

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Wearables

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.
Business

Google is buying mysterious smartwatch tech from The Fossil Group for $40 million

Google is about to step up its smartwatch game. The company has agreed to buy an unnamed smartwatch technology from The Fossil Group for a hefty $40 million. Considering the acquisition, it's clear Google is serious about smartwatches.
Mobile

Learn how to play YouTube in the background on iOS and Android

We show you how to play YouTube in the background with apps such as Opera, Chrome, and Firefox -- along with the premium offerings like YouTube Premium -- whether you have an Android or iOS device.
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.