Text-Messaging Pedestrians Become New Safety Hazard

Mike Munoz was simultaneously tapping out a text message and walking to the beer keg at a recent wedding when he smacked right into the bride. She teetered perilously as other guests rushed over to steady her.

"Who would miss someone wearing a white dress and an 8-foot train?" mutters Mr. Munoz, a 44-year-old car-dealership manager in suburban Portland, Ore. "She didn't get hurt or tear her dress, and I didn't get kicked out of the wedding for almost killing the bride."

A growing group of multitaskers are texting on the go, trying to manipulate the small keypads of a mobile phone or personal digital assistant while ambulatory.

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They obliviously ram into walls and doorways or fall down stairs. Out on the streets, they bump into lampposts, parked cars, garbage cans and other stationary objects.

Texting-on-the-go is just the latest tech-created public nuisance, one that's spreading quickly across a world still grappling with cellphone-addled drivers and wireless-headset users who appear to be speaking too loudly to no one in particular.

Like driving cellphone users, mobile texters typing furiously into their cellphones, BlackBerry devices or iPhones can be safety hazards.

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