Heads up for chattering pedestrians in new campaign

Mayo road safety officer Noel Gibbons.

Mayo road safety officer Noel Gibbons.

The dangers of driving and texting have been much publicised in recent times but now a new campaign in Mayo is highlighting the dangers for pedestrians who chatter and walk.

The Heads Up campaign is highlighting the dangers of ‘distracted walking’ and urging pedestrians to keep their heads up instead of buried in their phones.

According to Noel Gibbons, Mayo County Council’s road safety officer, texting or talking on the phone while walking is a growing concern.

“Research from a 2010 study by the RSA showed two in five (39 per cent ) pedestrians are often distracted using a phone when walking, and one in three admit to often jaywalking,” he pointed out.

“Research in the USA, published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, shows that injuries from so-called ‘distracted walking’ have more than doubled since 2005.

“For pedestrians, most of the information at a crossing is obtained visually by watching traffic, seeing the markings and signage and observing the signs that indicate when it is safe to walk. Pedestrians who attempt to multi-task while talking and using a phone have a reduced cognitive capacity to devote to potentially dangerous activities such as crossing streets.”

Somewhat surprisingly, the research also showed walking and talking on the phone was potentially more dangerous than texting while walking.

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