Motorists should watch out for "Podestrians" crossing the road

Written by: Susan Vanden - Partner, Head of Road Traffic Accidents
Dated: 16/03/2012

A new survey by car insurance company esure has found that 8.38am is the most likely time for early morning road accidents to occur, as pedestrians checking their mobile devices fail to check adequately before they cross the road.

The AA has coined the term “podesterians” to describe pedestrians who are so busy checking emails, tweeting and listening to music on iPods and other gadgets that they risk serious injuries and could cause road accidents.

President of AA Insurance Edmund King said there had been a rise in drivers making claims for minor road accidents – and many claim ‘podestrians’ are to blame.

The survey questioned 1,000 people and added data from field research monitoring road crossings in London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff and Manchester.

Danger Times!

In the evening rush hour, the peak danger time for road accidents and pedestrians sustaining serious injuries is 6.22pm.

Researchers for esure found that as many as one in ten pedestrians crossing the road focuses on their mobile devices – and at 8.38am more than one in five is concentrating on a personal mobile device rather than checking the road for traffic when they cross.

Around one in eight pedestrians (13%) admitted to risking serous injuries in a road accident by concentrating on discussing work matters on their mobile phone while cross the road.

Men who “multi-task” are the pedestrians most likely to be using a mobile device while crossing the road – and one in seven of these (14%) admitted that they might use more than one gadget while crossing the road, risking causing road accidents and sustaining serious injuries themselves.

A total of four in ten (37%) pedestrians admitted to making a mobile phone call while crossing the road – and one in 10 (30%) confessed to reading and sending text messages.

One in 10 (10%) pedestrians admitted they played games on a mobile device, one in 12 (8%) surfed the Internet – and one in 20 (5%) posted on social networking sites while crossing the road.

One in 20 motorists (5%) said they had narrowly avoided a pedestrian using a gadget while crossing the road – and nearly half the pedestrians questioned (46%) said they had crossed the road while fixing their attention on mobile gadgets. However, nearly three-quarters (73%) admitted this behaviour was “unacceptable”.

Head of risk and Underwriting at esure car insurance Mike Pickards 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."

“...Use of such technology on the move can lead to ‘unintentional blindness’ or ‘divided attention’, which poses great risks for road safety.”

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