We all know the dangers of walking and texting, but three in five students are also regularly walking with their headphones in even though they know it’s potentially dangerous around traffic, an RAA survey has revealed.
“It’s concerning that so many young pedestrians are deliberately putting themselves and other road users at risk because they’re distracted by loud music,” said Ben Haythorpe, RAA Senior Manager Community Education.
Almost half of the 3,000 South Australian high school students of learner driver age surveyed by RAA said they know that using headphones when walking is dangerous.
But it doesn’t deter them from doing it, with 44 per cent of students admitting to using headphones while walking.
“We also found 68 per cent of students have felt unsafe around traffic and 51 per cent can feel at risk of getting hit by a car when walking,” said Mr Haythorpe.
“It’s extremely frustrating when these students tell us that they feel both unsafe and at risk of being hit and injured around traffic, when they’re the ones who are putting both themselves and other road users in danger.
“Being distracted by loud music or looking down at a phone is extremely dangerous because you’re essentially walking without any awareness of what’s happening around you.
“The worst times for a pedestrian to be distracted are when crossing roads and using intersections, and we urge young pedestrians to rethink their attitude and habits to better protect themselves.”
Over the next two days, at RAA’s annual road trauma awareness event Street Smart High, 7,000 high school students from 70 schools around the state will learn how vulnerable you are as a road user and how distraction on the road can very easily end tragically.
“One of our speakers unfortunately lost her brother because he was struck by a car and killed when walking home one night, so the students will hear firsthand why you need to be attentive at all times as both a pedestrian and a driver,” said Mr Haythorpe.
Motor Accident Commission (MAC) General Manager, Road Safety and Strategic Communications Michael Cornish said MAC was pleased to be an Event Partner, given how important education to young road users is in reducing the road toll and serious injuries.
“When behind the wheel, young drivers are most at risk of crashing in the first six months on their P-plates, so we aim to educate these drivers while they are still learning to drive,” said Mr Cornish.
“Street Smart High is a very powerful way of demonstrating how seriously yours and many other lives can be affected by a crash, and why it’s so important to make safe, responsible decisions on the road.”
This year, regional students from schools in Mount Gambier, Port Lincoln and Broken Hill have been sponsored to attend this important road safety event, the largest of its kind in South Australia.