Pedestrian deaths and the use of smartphones rose in tandem over the past few years. Surely these trends are linked, right? Not so fast, argues Dr. Kelcie Ralph. In a careful review, she finds that while many people walk distracted, it does not appear to be as risky as many people assume. Other factors — such as increased use of SUVs and distracted driving — help explain the rise in pedestrian deaths. The Takeaway: We should be wary of the “distracted walking” narrative because it tends to shift our policies away from systematic solutions (such as lower speeds and improved street design) toward individual-level solutions (such as education campaigns and bans on distracted walking), which are less effective, subject to police bias, and inconsistent with Vision Zero principles.