Take action against walkers on smartphones, FF TD urges

John Lahart warns distracted pedestrians are ‘more likely to step into oncoming traffic’

“Pedestrians should be held to the same road safety standards as drivers, who after all are paying the price on their motor insurance premium for these kinds of accidents.” File photograph: Getty Images

“Pedestrians should be held to the same road safety standards as drivers, who after all are paying the price on their motor insurance premium for these kinds of accidents.” File photograph: Getty Images

 

Distracted walking in Dublin must be stamped out to stop people being hit by cars and bicycles or walking into rubbish bins, a Fianna Fáil TD has said.

John Lahart, the party’s Dublin spokesman, on Monday evening issued a statement highlighting the dangers posed by people using smartphones.

“Those who makes calls, send texts, listen to music, check their email or take selfies and photographs are oblivious [to] passing cars or cyclists,” the TD said. “They are therefore more likely to step into oncoming traffic or run into stationary objects such as lamp-posts, street signs or council litter bins.”

Mr Lahart claimed that distracted walking was causing a “major difficulty for motorists and cyclists across the capital” and said “safety measures must be introduced to prevent injury and/or collision”.

Fines introduced

He cited the example of Stanford University in Connecticut, where fines have been introduced for people found texting while walking on campus.

He also pointed to the Hawaiian city of Honolulu, which last month introduced a “smartphone zombie” law which allows police to fine pedestrians up to $35 for walking with their eyes on their phones instead of on the way ahead.

Honolulu is the first major US city to pass legislation targeting “distracted walking” in a bid to increase road safety.

Mr Lahart reminded pedestrians that they have a responsibility for their road use and pointed out that the State imposes strict laws on drivers. He suggested that a similar approach could be adopted to manage those who go about their business on foot.

The Dublin South West TD said texting while driving had been “rightfully banned” and warned that pedestrian fatalities as a result of distraction are just as possible.

“Pedestrians should be held to the same road safety standards as drivers, who after all are paying the price on their motor insurance premium for these kinds of accidents.”