People who send text messages on the move are just like drunks, researchers have claimed.

A study has shown that "text walkers" slow down, swerve from side to side and raise their legs in an exaggerated fashion on kerbs and steps. Overall, the effect is similar to a drunk weaving their way along the street.

Scientists from Bath University - who monitored 30 men and women as they worked their way round a street-like obstacle course - say that just like drunks, text-walkers may be at higher risk of tripping and falling. Their focus on their phone could also mean they step out in front of traffic. Lead researcher Conrad Earnest said: "It's probably too Pollyannaish to suggest that people learn to enjoy their walks and let their texts and emails wait.

"Perhaps a good middle ground is that if a text or email really can't wait, then pull to the side, stand still, answer the text or email and then continue along."

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Writing in the journal Public Library of Science, Dr Earnest said texting pensioners were a particular worry. He warned: "With age comes a natural decline in balance. So there is cause for concern."

- Daily Mail