Distracted pedestrians 'as dangerous as a blind driver'

Stepping out into the road wearing headphones has been described as tantamount to "getting behind the wheel of a car blind".

The Pedestrian Council of Australia (PCA) is calling for pedestrians to take more care when they are crossing busy streets in a bid to reduce risks and improve safety.

In an interview with the Wentworth Courier, the organisation's chief executive Harold Scruby explained that pedestrians wearing headphones are not as aware as other road users. "It's as dangerous as getting behind the wheel of a car blind – you're just not aware."

"They're like sheep to the slaughter, oblivious and unaware of oncoming traffic, red lights and what's going on around them," he told the newspaper. "It would be laughable if it wasn't so lethal."

The campaign is likely to carry the support of motorists too, who will welcome the focus on raising awareness among pedestrians. Safer road users of all kinds will reduce the risk of accidents, in turn cutting the likelihood of drivers being forced to make a car insurance claim.

Police have committed to crack down on pedestrians who ignore road laws, such as by using handheld mobile devices.

The PCA's new safety campaign is graphic and to the point, featuring photographs of pedestrian accident victims with blood trickling from their ears so that it imitates a pair of headphones.

Images are supported by a suitably to the point tagline: "Don't Tune Out. Stop. Look. Listen. Think."

Queensland police have this week committed to cracking down on road users involved in accidents caused by mobile device use.

Officers told the Courier Mail that it is not uncommon to arrive at the scene of an accident to find a ringing mobile phone. Often, family and friends are ringing back after their call was interrupted because of the accident.

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