Campaigners in Australia are calling for fines for people who use their phones as they cross the road.
The Pedestrian Council of Australia (PCA) are hoping $200 fines will be implemented to stop pedestrians putting themselves at risk by being distracted as they cross the road.
Harold Scruby, the PCA’s chairman, said they want to see the fine across the whole country, and it would be titled ‘cross road while distracted’.
According to 9 News, a recent study found one in three Australians are distracted by their phones while crossing the road
Speaking about the road safety issue, Police Minister Lisa Neville said:
Let’s have a look at what we need to do to improve our roads, our streets, for pedestrians and for drivers.
However, the proposed penalty is already dividing residents, with others wholeheartedly agreeing with the idea, while others think it’s a step too far.
As one person said: ‘I think that’s ridiculous. If there’s a pedestrian crossing you should be allowed to cross.’
While another said: ‘Drivers and pedestrians have equal responsibility to be safe, so if they’re distracted they should probably be fined equally.’
The PCA recently launched a campaign to back up their proposal, called Don’t Tune Out, which featured a short but terrifying advert.
You can watch it here:
Speaking about the hard-hitting advert, the PCA told Yahoo 7:
This is the most powerful ad we’ve ever done. Everyone who’s seen it is pretty shocked by it.
As their website states:
Since the introduction of the smart-phone, this lethal behaviour has reached epidemic proportions, around the world. People wander aimlessly onto roads, utterly oblivious of the potential for harm. And while the green man may give pedestrians some form of legal protection, it offers no physical protection whatsoever, especially when you consider how many drivers run red lights, many of whom are also “tuned-out” on their phones.
According to road safety experts, looking at your phone while crossing the road, or even just walking along the pavement, is a form of ‘inattentive blindness’, MailOnline reports.
Australia already has laws in place regarding pedestrian crossings, such as crossing within 20 metres of a marked crossing, failing to obey traffic lights, and failing to give way. These come with an $81 fine each.
Police, however, say they are not currently considering further penalties for pedestrians using their phones while crossing the street.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.