Mobile phones are driving pedestrians to distraction and danger, new preliminary research out of Queensland shows.
A survey of 210 people in Brisbane found one in five texted at least once a day while crossing the road, with some admitting they do it much more often.
The same went for making or receiving calls and about 12 per cent used the internet on their phone while crossing the road.
While the research is in its infancy, Queensland University of Technology’s Amy Williamson said 30 per cent of those polled so far admitted to having a near-miss with a vehicle and 15 per cent blamed their phone distraction.
Ms Williamson is collecting more data in Australia and New Zealand for the study in a bid to improve pedestrian safety.
This comes after a pedestrian was struck by a garbage truck as she crossed the road in Melbourne’s CBD early Tuesday morning.
Police are investigating if the 24-year-old woman was wearing headphones at the time.
Ms Williamson said one in seven people killed on roads are pedestrians, with more than 2,000 killed in the past decade.
“We are finding they might be even more at risk by using smart phones as they cross,” she said.
“Unlike driving, which is completely regulated, walking is generally not covered by laws and for many people it is an everyday part of life.”