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Study Finds That Tons of European Pedestrians Are Distracted by Smartphones

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Pedestrian Crossing the Road

Ford recently commissioned a survey of 10,000 Europeans in an effort to get a handle on the issue of distracted pedestrians crossing roads. As it turns out, a number of these pedestrians have either been at risk of being hit by a vehicle, or have habits that may put them in harm’s way.

Of those surveyed by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, 57% of smartphone users admitted to using their devices in some capacity while crossing the road, even in instances where they are not using a crosswalk; 47% have admitted to being preoccupied by talking on the phone in similar situations. Additionally, 32% admitted to listening to music, 14% admitted to texting, 9% admitted to browsing the internet, 7% admitted to using social media, and 3% admitted to gaming or watching videos.

The problem is even more prevalent among people between the ages of 18-24, where are more likely to have used mobile devices (86%), talked on the phone (68%), listened to music (62%), texted (34%), and had an accident or near miss (22%) whilst crossing the street. At least it’s not as bad as the study from 2014 that found one in three British drivers had at some point taken a selfie behind the wheel.

It’s worth noting that 85,000 pedestrians were killed between 2003-2013, and that car crashes are the top cause of death for 18-24-year-olds.

“Pedestrian fatalities are rising faster than any other group right now, so it is vital that drivers are more sympathetic and aware of pedestrians when they make their journeys,” said Sarah Sillars, chief executive officer, IAM. “There is no need to blame any party when it comes to how to reduce the numbers of people killed and injured on our roads—all road users need to look out for each other and ensure we minimize the impact of our own and others’ unpredictable behavior.”

The study is a means for Ford to promote its Ford Driving Skills for Life as well as its vehicles’ safety technologies.