Using your phone as you walk may get you in an accident

SINGAPORE - If you use your smartphone while walking, chances are you've had an accident.

This was the result of a survey done by four Nanyang Technological University undergraduates.

Out of 419 people aged 17 to 25, most have had at least one accident because they were glued to their phones while walking. A total of 598 accidents were reported by the respondents.

The distractions came mostly from their smartphones, with listening to music, text messaging, and talking on the phone being the top three distractions.

Although 84 per cent of those surveyed acknowledged that it was dangerous to be distracted while walking, 93 per cent admitted to still fiddling with their phones.

The survey is part of the the final-year project of four undergraduates - a campaign to promote safe walking called "Look Up, Look Out".

Ms Sydney Teng, 22, a final-year communications student at NTU, said she and her team mates decided to launch a campaign to promote safe walking as she often hears stories about people having near-misses while using their phones.

But there are no statistics to document the phenomenon, she noted, and most road safety campaigns are currently aimed at drivers.

"My friends and I have all had similar personal experiences. I was watching a video on my phone once and crossing a car park. I wasn't looking and was horned at by a car," said Ms Teng.

Her team mate, Ms Cherilyn Chia, 22, once tripped over a curb as she was sending a message on her phone, causing her to drop the device in a canal.

"The canal was a deep one with water and guppies. I had to climb down to retrieve my phone, which somehow survived," said Ms Chia.

As part of their campaign, the group has held road shows at NTU, the Singapore Management University, and Innova Junior College to raise awareness.

In coming weeks, they will be at Yishun Junior College, Temasek Junior College, Hwa Chong Institution and National Junior College.

They are also inviting people to go on their website, www.lookuplookoutsg.com, to pledge to be more aware of road safety.