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Drivers warned of pedestrian smartphone distraction

The warning comes from the AA as a new poll of 24,070 members also find that 66% of drivers often see pedestrians wearing headphones, step into the road.

AA patrols have also reported an increase in the number of 'zombie pedestrians' and joggers oblivious to traffic around them as they cross busy roads. It is thought that pedestrians’ lack of attention may be a factor in some of the 446 pedestrian deaths in 2014.

The AA added that pedestrian phone distraction is most likely in London (80%) and least likely in Eastern England (67%), South West (68%) and Wales (69%).

Pedestrians accounted for three-quarters of the increase in fatalities in Great Britain between 2013 and 2014. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 12% from 398 in 2013 to 446 in 2014, according to Government figures.

Previous analysis from AA Insurance shows that pedestrian 'inattention' could be the cause of 17 collisions each day and that more drivers making claims for minor shunts are citing 'podestrians' or ‘Smombie pedestrians’ as the cause.

Edmund King OBE, AA president, said: “We can’t stop the march of technology but we need to halt the pedestrian, cycle and driver zombies. Whether on two feet, two wheels or four, too many people are suffering from Smartphone Oblivion.

“When on the move our brains have much to take in and using technological gadgets means that we can’t always concentrate on so many things at once.  

“This is when we walk into traffic; don’t hear the truck or drive cocooned from the outside world.

“Our research suggests this problem is growing so we all need to use common sense to ensure that technological cocooning doesn’t endanger our lives or the lives of others.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.