The 1 in 10 Brits hurt 'texting while walking' will now find comfort in padded lampposts

This is a joke, of course, despite what you may have read in apparently credulous news stories and blog posts elsewhere, particularly in the British press.

I say it's a joke not knowing for certain that it's a joke, but I'm perfectly willing to be proven wrong should it come to that. Been wrong before. Not as a painful as walking into a lamppost while texting.

In the meantime, I say these news outlets are being taken in by a joke simply because it must be a joke.

From The Daily Star:

An amazing six million Brits were injured last year while texting and using their mobiles. More than one in 10 people were hurt after stumbling into lampposts, bollards and litter bins in the street.

They suffered "walk and text" wounds, ranging from bruises to broken noses and fractured skulls. A new study has revealed that more than 60% of us concentrate so hard when texting we become blind to objects surrounding us.

It says here - with no data at my disposal - that 6 million Brits were not injured in auto and bicycle accidents combined last year, never mind texting while walking, so there's your neon sign of a clue that we're smelling Onionish fare here instead of genuine scientific research. (The numbers are a mish-mash in various accounts, so some of this may be a matter of journalists being notoriously crappy at math.)

Nevertheless, from The Daily Mail, comes news of relief on the way for these clumsy communicators.

Britain's first 'Safe Text' street has been created complete with padded lampposts to protect millions of mobile phone users from getting hurt in street accidents while walking and texting.

Around one in ten careless Brits has suffered a "walk 'n text" street injury in the past year through collisions with lampposts, bins and other pedestrians.

The story comes complete with a photograph of a lamppost that's been outfitted with what looks like a boxing ring turnbuckle. We're even treated to quotations from an apparently real British pedestrian-advocacy group called Living Streets.

The study was allegedly conducted by a text-messaging company called 118.com, which seems to be a real firm with a respectable-looking Web site that contains not a mention of this startling new data. (Update, March 6: No word yet from 118.com but the Ministry of Silly Walks says I shouldn't be too quick to dismiss this public safety initiative.)

Perhaps March 5 is April 1 over there, I don't know.

Either way, I've sent an e-mail to 118.com congratulating them on a joke jolly well done.

(Update 2: If you're a Digger and enjoyed this post, you know what to do and here's where to do it.)

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