A new road safety poster campaign has been launched in Warwickshire to help people cross the road safely

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LOOK and listen when you walk and talk. That is the advice given as part of a new campaign to help save lives.

The green cross code appears to have been rewritten as more as more pedestrians seem to stop, change a track, and make a phone call, than stop, look, and listen when crossing the road.

Using MP3 players, mobile phones and similar devices when walking near roads is a major distraction for pedestrians so a new road safety poster campaign has been launched to remind people to avoid danger by giving traffic their full concentration.

In 2011, 33 pedestrians were killed or seriously injured in road accidents in Warwickshire and a further 122 suffered slight injuries. It’s unclear how many of these deaths and injuries were the result of pedestrian distraction, but road safety professionals are concerned that this plays a part.

The campaign to reduce distraction is running across Warwickshire and West Mercia. It urges pedestrians to ‘stay alert to traffic’ and to avoid using phones or other similar devices when crossing the road or walking near traffic.

Traffic is the biggest cause of accidental death of 12 to 16 year olds so campaign posters will be distributed to secondary schools across Warwickshire over the coming weeks to warn young people of the potential dangers. Parents are also being asked to support the campaign by talking to their children about the dangers of not paying attention to traffic.

Warwickshire County Councillor Richard Hobbs, portfolio holder for community protection said: “The immense popularity of mobile phones and other portable devices presents a major risk to pedestrian safety. It’s not uncommon to see pedestrians so completely absorbed in their phones that they are entirely oblivious to where they are and what’s going on around them.

People are increasingly using mobile phones on the move to perform complex tasks that demand a huge amount of attention, such as texting, accessing emails and the internet, updating social media or making use of apps. If you are focused on texting or selecting a play list you can’t be fully aware of traffic. It’s a recipe for disaster.”

Warwickshire Police Head of Incident Resolution, Superintendent Adrian McGee added: “This may appear to be a trivial issue to some but the risks are clear. It is all too easy for an inattentive pedestrian using a mobile phone to take a quick glance before stepping off the kerb to cross when they should take the time to look both ways properly. This makes it easy to miss an approaching vehicle.

“Similarly a pedestrian listening to music impairs their ability to hear approaching traffic. Pedestrians need to be aware of the risks they are unknowingly taking and ask themselves how important is that text, everyone needs to take more responsibility for their personal safety.