Harsher fines for distracted pedestrians not the solution

The State’s peak motoring body has urged pedestrians to put down their phones and take more care around roads, after an advocacy group called for distracted pedestrians to be slapped with harsher fines.

The Courier Mail reported the call came after the number of pedestrians killed in Queensland this year hit 29.

RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said rather than new fines, improving crossing infrastructure could alleviate frustration and stop people from dodging traffic when trying to cross the road.

“Pedestrians can already be fined for crossing against a red pedestrian light, jaywalking or causing a traffic hazard by walking in front of a driver – whether they are distracted or not,” Mr Spalding said.

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“When pedestrians are crossing on a green pedestrian light they are in a position where other road users will either be stopped, or required to give way to them,” she said.

“We’d prefer to see enforcement of safe crossing behaviours.  We also need to educate pedestrians about why being alert around roads and crossing in line with the road rules can be the difference between life and death.”

Mr Spalding said pedestrians were our most vulnerable road users and eliminating distractions was the best way to prevent tragedy.

“Not all pedestrian deaths and serious injuries are due to their own actions, however distraction can be a serious safety risk,” he said.

“Pedestrians who are involved in an incident, are extremely likely to be seriously injured or worse. All road users, including pedestrians, need to take responsibility for their safety on the roads, so avoid using your phone while crossing the road and only cross in safe locations.

“We teach school children how to cross safely in our RACQ Streets Ahead program, and those messages apply to adults of all ages too.”