'Calling' Attention of Pedestrians: Don't Talk When You Walk
Daijiworld Media Network
Mangalore, Jun 20: Just the other day while riding on my two-wheeler on the busy Bejai-KSRTC road I happen to see a car owner applying emergency breaks and shouting at a pedestrian woman who suddenly crossed the road blithely talking on her cell phone. It was a lucky escape both for the car owner who would have faced public wrath if something were to go wrong and the lady in question who escaped accident by a whisker. Though her impulsive act caused quite a commotion at the scene she went about with her talking spree oblivious of the upheaval she created.
From time to time there have been awareness programmes highlighting the risk of cell phone use by motor vehicle operators while on road as it distracts their attention from driving which might cause risk to others apart from endangering their own lives. But now after many accidents caused due to negligence on the part of cell phone user pedestrians who converse on cell phones while walking on busy roads or forget their surrounding when they are engrossed with their iphones and ipads awareness is slowly growing on the risk they face and risk they cause to other while walking and talking on a cell phones.
In India it is a fad among teens and youngsters to possess the latest and most trendy mobile and sets and they are almost addicted to their gadgets. It is also a common scene to spot these cool guys walking on the streets either chatting with their peers or even sending text messages while walking on streets. Cell phone conversation while walking on streets is quite common among people of all age groups. With their entire attention firmly on the conversation they have with their friends or are unable to listen to any sound other than that of the music in their earphones they end up crossing the roads on a sudden impulse as if they wake up from a deep slumber. This is because the phone conversation distracts their minds from the attention they need to give to watch the road ahead or from taking necessary precautions while crossing the road.
Even in Mangalore it is common to see youngsters with their mobile earphones plugged in or other pedestrians irrespective of age engaging in conversation even while crossing on busy junctions. Many two-wheeler and four-wheeler riders must be facing this problem from such pedestrian cell phone talkers who put their own lives at risk apart from causing problems to the riders and drivers. There is the danger of them being run over by vehicles when they walk or try to cross the road all of a sudden. It is not that they do it intentionally.
According to studies, it is said that when people are deeply engrossed in conversation their ability to concentrate on the task ahead gets affected by almost 50%. A recent study conducted on this aspect reveals that cell phone talkers were slower in reacting to situations and taker longer time than allotted to cross the roads. Researchers have termed such a phenomenon as “inattentional blindness”, where they really don’t see even if their eyes are on it. Many people are still oblivious of the danger they cause to others because they assume that walking is something we do automatically and that there is no effort required or nothing will come in their way. However, in reality it is not so and even walking in familiar environs calls for our complete attention and concentration to avoid any risk.
Just 3 days back a 19 year old girl from Ahmedabad, Archana an engineering student was killed while crossing a railway track and eyewitnesses say she was talking on the cell while crossing and failed to hear the sound of the approaching train. In Gaziabad there has been a spate of deaths while crossing railway tracks including that of a class IX boy who was killed when he crossed the track with his mobile ear phones plugged in. None can forget the tragic and gruesome accident involving two brothers aged 15 & 18 in December last when they were mowed down by Janshatabdi Express. These teenagers who were listening to music on their phone earplugs while walking near railway tracks and paid with their lives for their laxity.
Luckily in Mangalore motor vehicle operators and two-wheeler riders are extra-careful having faced such problems from cell phone and earphone addicts and want to avoid the consequences of mowing them down. While such a precaution may not be foolproof solution it is better cell phone users or music lovers using earphones to avoid risk to their lives by controlling their addiction when they walk on roads or cross busy traffic junctions.