VIENNA, Austria, November 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
An urgent phone call, a short WhatsApp message or simply just a quick glance at the screen - mobile phones are omnipresent. People who walk along the street staring at their phones can easily overlook other road users or even miss signposts or lampposts. In a recent road safety campaign, the Austrian Road Safety Board (Kuratorium für Verkehrssicherheit - KFV) made the country's streets safer for so-called smartphone zombies. Lampposts on busy pedestrian streets across the nation were outfitted with cushioned airbags. The provocative slogan "Will the next car be so well padded? Look where you're going, not at your mobile phone!" printed on all the 'lamppost airbags' sought to remind pedestrians - and all other road users as well - how important it is to pay attention on the roads.
The Austrian campaign adds to a growing number of international initiatives against distraction. In China, special sections of some pavements are reserved for people using phones while walking. In Honolulu, anyone crossing the road and looking at their phone will be fined. Or German city of Augsburg, the authorities have begun putting traffic lights on the ground where they can be seen more easily by people staring at smartphones.
43 per cent of pedestrian accidents in Austria are the result of distraction/lack of due care and attention. Distraction or lack of due care and attention has been the number one cause of accidents on Austria's roads for many years. The share of pedestrians 'carelessly' distracted by listening to music, making a phone call, sending text messages or reading e-mails while walking along the street continues to grow - aided and abetted by their constant companion, the smartphone. A KFV observation study of more than 7,000 pedestrians in Austria revealed, for example, that 36 per cent of pedestrians in Vienna are discernibly distracted even while crossing the road. The result: in 2016, 1,560 pedestrian accidents were attributed to distraction on Austria's roads alone. “Our data show that the share of distracted pedestrians, for instance in Vienna, has risen considerably in the last two years,” said Dr. Johanna Trauner-Karner (KFV spokesperson). “With our new road safety campaign, we want to specifically remind people that paying full attention on the roads at all times is vital for all road users.”
Images and photo material from the campaign in Austria can be found at: https://www.apa-fotoservice.at/galerie/9800.
SOURCE Kuratorium für Verkehrssicherheit