Prevention (Australia) - - Emotional Health -

Are you guilty of ‘wex­ting’ (walk­ing while tex­ting)? Apart from caus­ing ‘pave­ment rage’ (bump­ing into other pedes­tri­ans), wex­ting and mo­bile phone dis­trac­tions such as talk­ing and lis­ten­ing to mu­sic are thought to be a con­trib­u­tor to a 2018 spike in pedes­trian ac­ci­dents in Aus­tralia.

While we don’t have a ‘dis­tracted walk­ing’ law like Hawaii, pedes­tri­ans can be fined as much as $105 in some states for walk­ing “with­out con­sid­er­a­tion to other road users”. The prob­lem has be­come so wide­spread that in Syd­ney and Mel­bourne, red in-ground pave­ment lights on the curb and in the guttering area are be­ing tri­alled on cer­tain streets of the city as a way of alert­ing wex­ters to the fact they are about to step into on­com­ing traf­fic.

Mean­while, re­search from Queens­land’s Cen­tre for Ac­ci­dent Re­search and Road Safety, shows that di­al­ing, tex­ting and talk­ing on a mo­bile phone while driv­ing causes mea­sur­able con­cen­tra­tion blips. These in­clude slower re­ac­tions times and a drop in your abil­ity to judge dis­tances, speed and space.

Take home mes­sage? It’s a no-brainer re­ally. If you’re in mo­tion, whether walk­ing, cy­cling or driv­ing a car, put your mo­bile phone in your bag, ig­nore that ping or ring and keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

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