Road Safety GB and Confused.com have joined forces to highlight the issue of pedestrians being distracted by their mobile phone while crossing the road.
The call follows an online poll of 2,000 adults in which nearly a third (30%) of respondents said their mobile phone has distracted them from traffic on the roads, while one in seven (14%) admitted crossing the road without looking.
Confused.com points to DfT figures which it says show that in 2013 the number of adult pedestrian deaths rose by 3% year on year, and deaths among pedestrians aged under 18 years rose by 35% year on year.
The comparison website says that “despite the growing use of mobile phones in every part of our lives, the Office of National Statistics does not record details of road traffic accidents involving pedestrians”.
Confused.com and Road Safety GB are calling for accidents involving distracted pedestrians to be routinely recorded “so we can raise awareness of the dangers of talking and texting while crossing busy roads”; and for pedestrians to limit their mobile phone use alongside busy roads “as a way to bring down the number of mobile phone related pedestrian deaths”.
Mobile phone related activities that poll highlighted include texting (66%), talking on the phone (57%), browsing Facebook (23%), sending messages via WhatsApp (18%), checking emails (13%) and taking selfies (3%).
Unsurprisingly, more than two-thirds (69%) of those aged 18-24 years said they use their mobile phone while walking, compared with three in 10 (31%) of those aged 55 years and over.
Alan Kennedy, Road Safety GB’s business and operations manager, said: "Pedestrians are a particularly vulnerable road user group and it is essential, when out and about, that we concentrate fully, especially when crossing roads.
“We simply cannot do two things at the same time, and trying to do a task with 100% accuracy whilst using a mobile phone or texting is impossible.
“The distraction of the phone or tablet reduces concentration hugely and we can easily slip into auto pilot mode. It is when we are in this state that we are most at risk."