Monday, 17 June 2019

Spike in pedestrian accidents linked to mobile phone distraction

Pedestrian distraction2


Security footage captured a man falling on to railway tracks at a Melbourne train station while talking on his mobile phone.

Reports of a rise in the number of pedestrians being killed on Australian roads in 2012 has prompted warnings from police and safety experts for pedestrians to pay attention to their surroundings when using mobile phones and wearing headphones.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported in July that 38 pedestrians had died on NSW roads in the first six months of 2012 compared with 21 deaths over the same period in 2011.
The figures have senior police officers worried about the distractions caused by mobile devices and they have urged people not to use phones, iPods and other gadgets while crossing the road.
“These devices pose a significant safety risk as they distract pedestrians from what's going on around them,” NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol acting commander Stuart Smith said.
Recent accidents in Victoria have also highlighted the dangers of mobile phone use for pedestrians, however Victorian pedestrian fatalities are down in 2012 with 25 deaths compared to 31 at this time last year.
In a recent incident in Melbourne, transit officers said a teenager who suffered a broken rib and was trapped for half an hour was lucky to be alive after being run over by a tram while talking to her friend on the phone.
Also at Thomastown railway station in Melbourne Security footage captured another recent accident where a man toppled face first on to the tracks after pacing along the edge of the platform while talking on his mobile phone.
Transport Safety Victoria said it was worried by the spate of incidents involving people distracted by electronic gadgets.
“People should ensure that they are not distracted by devices such as mobile phones and MP3 players in the vicinity of public transport vehicles or infrastructure,” said Transport Safety Victoria's director of safety, Allan Osbourne.
“Earphones, talking on the phone or texting, checking websites and playing games, all decrease attention.”
Despite Australian statistics showing a consistent decline in pedestrian fatalities from 290 deaths in 2001 to 188 in 2011, AMTA CEO Chris Althaus warned all mobile phone users to pay attention when walking near roads and public transport and to only use devices when it’s safe.

Pedestrian fatalities chart

“It is important for mobile phone users to ensure they are aware of their surroundings when operating their devices and to only talk or text when it is safe to do so,” Mr Althaus said.
“Mobile phone users should be aware that road use - whether as a driver, rider or pedestrian - is a complex task that requires alertness, awareness of their surroundings and compliance with the road rules.”
“It is up to mobile users to exercise good judgement and if you don't think it is safe to talk, send text messages or check your email while walking, particularly while crossing roads, then don't do it."
The Pedestrian Council of Australia has launched a public awareness campaign to highlight the deadly distraction posed by headphones and electronic devices.

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