We've all noted this as we go shopping around town, avoiding them or negotiating the aisles in stores while they carry on deep and meaningful conversations about the price of fish. Now it has been proved in research from Anglia Ruskin University.
Dr Matthew Timmis said: "We found that using a phone means we look less frequently, and for less time, at the ground, but we adapt our visual search behaviour and our style of walking, so we're able to negotiate static obstacles in a safe manner.
"China has already started segregating footpaths with special lanes for those using their phones. Initiatives are also being introduced in a number of European countries to place fixed warning on the ground to alert pedestrians to roads."
I can make a few suggestions of how they might be phrased. How about: "Slow. Road Ahead" followed by "Slow. Road Imminent" followed by "Ouch! I told you so. Now use your phone to call an ambulance."
Those who suffer from this affliction of dependence are known as smartphone zombies.
Maybe there could be another solution rather than road signs on pavements. Why not have collection points in towns and cities like bus stops where smartphone zombies could meet, drawn by the pull of a particularly strong wi fi signal. They could be roped together and led by carers to other points in the city, like a crocodile line of school children. Or we could have Guide Dogs for the Smartphone Addicted.
Or we could ban their use altogether during perambulation with glass-sided shelters provided at intervals where they can stop off and make a call. We could call them telephone boxes.
A European study suggests that blokes who drink at least three cups of coffee a day will live longer. An extra cup of coffee a day could apparently extend life by about three months. Perhaps the NHS should make coffee available in pill form so you can ingest more, although that would be open to substance abuse.
"Eric took an overdose."
"Will he be all right?"
"He'll live for an extra five years but he'll be awake until 2020."
Dark chocolate is, according to other research, a rich source of flavanols which boost mental ability and memory, which will be essential once I become a centenarian so that I still know who I am.
"What's it like to be 100?"
"Half past three."