iPods blamed for pedestrian death rise in NSW

Sydney, Sep 06 (ANI): There is a 25 per cent rise in the number of pedestrian deaths in Australia's New South Wales (NSW), and it is now being blamed on iPods.

The "iPod zombie trance" people get into when walking, driving or pedalling around listening to their mobile devices is being blamed for an increase in collisions and even deaths in Europe and the US.

The issue has been highlighted in Sydney by the death of a 46-year-old Glebe woman reportedly wearing headphones when she was knocked down and killed by an ambulance on Saturday night.

There is speculation she might not have heard the ambulance siren when crossing Parramatta Road at Mallett Street at Camperdown.

Although the number of people killed on NSW roads so far this calendar year has dropped, pedestrian deaths have climbed by 25 per cent to 53, compared to 44 for the same period last year.

Harold Scruby, of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, said research into deaths resulting from people not paying attention to traffic while using mobile devices was scant in NSW.

"Death by iPod' is a relatively new phenomenon so it may be slow in showing up because it can sometimes be a year between the fatality and the coroner's finding," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Scruby as saying.

"But we should be asking ourselves why are total road deaths declining while pedestrian fatalities continue to escalate? Maybe listening devices could be part of the explanation."

In an endeavour to educate the public, the Pedestrian Council's "lambs to the slaughter - wait for the green" campaign featuring a group of pedestrians wearing sheep heads and listening to mobiles and iPods has appeared in newspapers and a billboard. (ANI)

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