Text-walk laws should be adopted

13th August 2017 2:30 PM
UPDATED 14th August 5:25 AM
DANGER ZONE: Texting while walking across the street is a growing epidemic. DANGER ZONE: Texting while walking across the street is a growing epidemic. diego_cervo

A LOCAL man says he wants Bundaberg to look at adopting text-and-walk laws similar to those in Honolulu.

In June, the Hawaiian city passed a law that will see people fined for using a mobile device while crossing streets.

The law will come into effect in October and fines will range from US $15 to $99 depending on the severity of the mobile offence and how many times a person has been caught.

The laws do, however, allow people to talk on their phone while crossing the street.

Elliott Heads resident Jim Carter said he thought it was a great idea that needed to be implemented locally.

"It's a growing epidemic - what's so important that you've got to text when walking across the street?," he said.

"It's just another danger that drivers have got to put up with."

Mr Carter said he had even see people on mobility scooters and bikes looking down at phone screens on the road.

"I just can't understand it," he said.

Mr Carter also believes designated texting bays could add to the city's safety.

"I think the council should have an area in Bourbong St near the Police Beat where people can stop and do their texting," he said, adding that supermarkets could also be good candidates for texting bays.

While Mr Carter's ideas may seem concerning to screen-lovers across the region, the experts tend to agree that stronger rules are necessary.

Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital trauma service director Associate Professor Daryl Wall told News Corp that screen surfing and listening to music when crossing streets was dangerous, amid a rise in so-called "text-and-walk" injuries.

"People walk erratically when they're distracted by mobile phones. They don't walk straight," Prof Wall said. "You lose focus.

"And if they've got their ear buds in listening to music, it means they don't hear the approach of a vehicle. We rely on our hearing to pick up certain cues."

Prof Wall said it was time for tough laws and changes to technology.

"We've got to use our scientists and our manufacturers to make the technology safer," he said.

"We have to ask them to build into the phone a means of interfering with the phone's use if someone is in a car or if they're in an environment which is hazardous, such as walking on a footpath or on a street or road.

"That would be possible simply through Google maps. I'm confident technology can be applied to save people from themselves."