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Texting boyfriend while walking a bad idea, soggy newscaster discovers

Jan. 25, 2013 at 10:29 AM ET

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Laura Safe, texting her boyfriend, just before stepping into the canal.

Generally speaking, those who report the news try to avoid being ... well, the news. But sometimes accidents happen — like in the case of a radio newscaster who walked directly into a canal while texting her boyfriend.

"Oh dear. I should really be called Laura UNsafe after the day I've had!" tweeted Laura Safe, a newscaster for UK-based music radio station Capital FM, about a week ago. It didn't take long for the world to discover why Safe was feeling dangerous, because her colleagues were more than happy to make the details of her morning part of a segment.

"Poor Laura Safe. All she wants to do is read the news. And this morning, all we wanted to do is take the mickey," a note on the Capital FM website explained on the day of the incident. "The canal was icy, she was texting ... it was the weather's fault really."

Holding nothing back, whoever wrote that note even finished it with a flourish: "Ahahahahahahahahahaha!"

"I thought there was pavement ahead of me, I could see it out of the corner of my eye," Safe said during a segment on Capital FM's Capital Breakfast show. After viewing CCTV footage acquired by the Telegraph, we find this to be an almost reasonable explanation. The canal running through the Mailbox — the Birmingham shopping center in which Safe had her stumble — is at the bottom of a set of stairs, with no guardrail of any sort preventing someone, such as a distracted newscaster, from walking directly into it. We wouldn't be surprised if it did indeed look as if it was merely a walking area, if it happened to be frozen over and one wasn't really looking ahead.

Excuses and theories aside, Safe was quite lucky. Neil Edginton — managing director at property development group EDG Property, who coincidentally was part of the team behind the creation of the Mailbox and its odd layout — happened to witness her accident.

"Slightly wet, as just had to pull someone out of canal! Walking towards me on their phone, straight into the water! #splash," Edginton tweeted shortly after pulling Safe out of the water. He'd tried to warn her right as she was taking the final step into icy doom: He shouted "Nooooooooooooo!"

As much fun as Safe's colleagues and other reporters appear to be having while covering her accident, distracted walking isn't really a joking matter. In 2008, the American College of Emergency Physicians warned of rising reports involving oblivious texters, with injuries involving text-messaging pedestrians, bicyclists, and even horseback riders.

More recently, we've seen plenty of individuals endanger themselves by using their cellphones while walking. In January 2011 a woman fell into a water fountain while walking through a mall and text messaging. Video footage of the accident was posted to YouTube and quickly made its rounds on the Internet. In April 2012, a Califonia-based man nearly walked directly into a bear because he was distracted by his cellphone. In August 2012, footage of an earlier incident in which a man stumbled right off a plain platform while focused on his phone circulated on the Internet.

In April 2012, October 2012, and January 2013, this reporter managed to bruise her knee on a desk corner because of a distracting text message. She is considering changing desks.

Want more tech news or interesting links? You'll get plenty of both if you keep up with Rosa Golijan, the writer of this post, by following her on Twitter, subscribing to her Facebook posts, or circling her on Google+.

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