Poll highlights pedestrian mobile phone dangers

12.00 | 19 September 2014 | | 2 comments

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."


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    New South Wales researched a 2 year increase in ped incidents and identified “inattentive blindness”, their term, for pedestrians who are distracted or distract themselves.

    We in Westminster 2 years ago ran an E poster to companies and places of higher education with the slogan: “Get the Message… Be smarter than your phone. Take care before you step off the kerb”.

    The image is someone about to step out and if you look carefully you see not just the taxi but the shadow of the cyclist he will step into. 1200 were printed off by the recipients and placed in lifts, student common areas and office quiet areas. Want a copy email me: pwilson@westminster.gov.uk

    Peter Wilson Westminster
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Here in Birmingham we ran a campaign on this a couple of years ago “Now you see ’em, Now you don’t” using a well known street in the City and the picture of a smart phone blocking out all view of on-coming traffic. We were pleased with the campaign, but like any education scheme while you are out there telling people you might get some take-up, but without consistent messages, people just revert to their auto-pilot eyes glued to phone mode!

    Trudi Maybury, Birmingham
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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