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Motorists most vulnerable to hitting 'gadget-fixated' pedestrians at 8.38am

London, Thu, 15 Mar 2012 ANI

London, Mar 15 (ANI): Most accidents involving motorists knocking down pedestrians occur at 8:30 am as one in ten crossing the road are more attentive towards their mobiles and portable music players than traffic around them, a new study has revealed.


Instead of watching out for cars as they cross, people crossing the road - usually heading to work - are too preoccupied with phoning, texting, 'tweeting', surfing the internet, playing games, or even updating their Facebook accounts.


Consequently 8.38am is the time when the gadget-obsessed pedestrians - dubbed 'podestrians' by the AA after the Ipod music player - are most likely to cause an accident by walking carelessly into the path of a car which may result in them being seriously injured or even killed.


And if they survive the early morning danger zone, then the next most dangerous time of the day for such an accident is when they head back home after work at 6.22pm.


The new survey by insurance firm esure revealed that 8.38am is the most dangerous time for motorists to encounter pedestrians crossing the road when more than one in five (22 per cent) have their eyes fixated on their gadgets rather than on the traffic, the Daily Mail reported.


And nearly 1 in 8 (13 per cent) career obsessed pedestrians admit to regularly crossing the road while dealing with work matters on their phone.


"Unsurprisingly therefore that 6.22pm was the second most dangerous time for motorists to be aware of pedestrians - with nearly 1 in 10 (9 per cent )of those observed during the survey caught looking at or using their gadgets while crossing the road," the report said.


The research is based on a poll of over 1,000 people combined with the findings of a team of researchers deployed across the UK to monitor busy road crossings over the course of a day in London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff and Manchester.


"Londoners were the most perilous pedestrians with researchers recording four near misses involving gadget distracted passengers," the report noted.


The findings revealed that one in twelve people (8 per cent) look at or use their gadgets while crossing the road at any time during the day with multi-tasking men tagged 'the worst culprits.'


"Men were more likely to cross the road while using more than one gadget," the report said.


Nearly four out of ten (37 per cent) of pedestrians admitted that they have made a call while crossing the road, while almost a third (30 per cent) have read and sent text messages while doing the same.


One in ten Brits (ten per cent) have played games on a handheld device and one in twelve (eight per cent) have even surfed the internet while crossing the road. A further 1 in 20 (5 per cent) have even posted on a social networking site.


"Smartphones are great for surfing the net or keeping in touch whilst on the go, but pedestrians also need to know when to put them away," Mike Pickard, Head of risk and Underwriting at esure car insurance, said.


"Crossing the road while distracted by gadgets is not only incredibly dangerous to the pedestrian but also other road users. If a motorist had to suddenly swerve to avoid hitting a pedestrian it could put other lives at risk too.


"More people are using communication technology on the move from the businessman crossing city streets checking emails to the tourist finding the best hotels on the latest app."


However, Pickard asserted that the use of such technology on the move can lead to "unintentional blindness" or "divided attention" which poses great risks for road safety.


"AA Insurance reports that more drivers making claims for minor shunts are citing 'podestrians' or iPod wearing pedestrians as the cause," AA president Edmund King who has highlighted the growing menace of distracted pedestrians said.


"We can't stop the march of technology. But when on the move our brains have much to take in and using technological gadgets means that our brains can't always concentrate on so many things at once.


"This is when we walk into traffic, don't hear the truck or drive cocooned from the outside world," he added. (ANI)


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