One-In-Three Pedestrians 'Playing Chicken' With Traffic

The NRMA is calling out 'phone zombies' for taking dangerous risks on Sydney's roads.

According to a new report from the road safety authority, more than one-in-three distracted pedestrians are crossing busy city streets while using their mobile phones or wearing earphones.

Of the more than 26,000 pedestrians observed across high-traffic intersections in the CBD and Parramatta, almost eight percent were also caught crossing the road illegally, and three percent did so while using their phones or wearing earphones.

It's prompted an urgent call from the NRMA for pedestrians to put their phones away and avoid crossing intersections while distracted.

Road Safety Expert Dimitra Vlahomitros said there needed to be a crackdown on 'smombies' or 'smartphone zombies'.

"Distracted walking is a form of inattentional blindness and when you undertake this behaviour you are effectively playing chicken with fast moving traffic – the results of which can be catastrophic,” Vlahomitros said.

“Almost every Australian owns a smartphone and too many of them are focusing on their screens or blocking out their ability to hear traffic instead of focusing on crossing the road safely."

READ MORE: It Turns Out That Those Pedestrian Buttons Are Completely Useless

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The report comes just one day after police announced a crackdown on jaywalking had seen more than 100 infringements handed out in a six-hour time period in the city's south on Wednesday.

"With the road toll currently sitting at 171 lives lost, which also includes 26 pedestrians and 5 cyclists, all road users are urged to share the road safely," police said on Facebook yesterday.

PHOTO: Getty Images

According to NRMA's Look Up report, pedestrian trauma accounts for 17 percent of all deaths on NSW roads and nine percent of serious injuries.

More than 1500 pedestrians were hit on state roads last year with 67 sadly losing their lives, according to the NRMA.

The report also called for more refuge island on large streets, countdown timers, and installation of over-and-underpass bridges, as well as reflective pavement markings,  to improve visibility.

IMAGE: Getty

It also joined growing calls for the removal of green-on-green signals, with the NRMA saying it puts pedestrians "on a collision course with turning vehicles."

It comes after a number of pedestrian fatalities in recent years involving green-on-green traffic lights.

Featured Image: Getty

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