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Phone distractions a recipe for accidents

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The case of a woman who was hit by a taxi while looking at her mobile phone and walking across a road has drawn attention again to the dangers of being distracted by personal communication devices when using public thoroughfares. She is lucky to have survived the accident. Still, distracted road use is a reality that pedestrians ignore at their peril. Of course, a greater danger is the use of phones while driving, but that attracts the weight of the law and is seen clearly by citizens as a threat to public safety. Unfortunately, the same opprobrium does not apply to pedestrians who endanger themselves and others by talking, texting, checking messages, watching videos or playing mobile games when they should be looking out for traffic. Their disregard for responsible road behaviour also sets a bad example for others, particular the young, and is a bad influence on children - especially if parents are the culprits.

Logically, pedestrians should but do not look to the left and the right before they cross, as they are supposed to do, because many are glued to their phones. This not only shrinks their field of vision but also delays their reaction time to traffic movements. Even a fraction of a second can make a difference between safety and unexpected disaster.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2019, with the headline Phone distractions a recipe for accidents. Subscribe