Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Dublin, John Lahart TD has said distracted walking is causing major difficulty for motorists and cyclists across the Capital and safety measures must be introduced to prevent injury and/or collision.

Commenting on the matter Deputy Lahart said, “People who are constantly on their smartphones, even when crossing the road in the city centre, have the potential to cause accidents. Phones are distracting and lead people to not pay enough attention to what they are doing.

“Dublin city centre is a bustling hub of commuters, tourists and those going about their daily lives, but people using their mobile phones while walking are at greater risk of being careless.

“Pedestrians must share responsibility for their road use; we impose strict laws on drivers and with the surge in phone use, it’s only right that distracted walking is strongly discouraged too.

“We have rightfully banned texting while driving but pedestrian fatalities as a result of distraction are just as possible. Pedestrians should be held to the same road safety standards as drivers, who after all are paying the price on their motor insurance premium for these kinds of accidents.

“Stanford University in Connecticut has introduced fines for those found to be texting while walking on campus. The US State of Hawaii, which has one of the highest pedestrian death rates in America, has also very recently introduced distraction pedestrian legislation, making it a summary offence.

He added, “Those who makes calls, send texts, listen to music, check their email or take selfies and photographs are oblivious of passing cars or cyclists. They are therefore more likely to step into oncoming traffic or run into stationary objects such as lamp-posts, street signs or Council litter bins.

“Hunching over your mobile phone means you are unaware of the danger posed by passing traffic. Smart phones are rarely out of our hands but we must be aware of the dangers of being constantly on the device if we are near traffic and in the city centre. It can be dangerous and could possibly cause accidents or worse.

“The government should request Dublin City Council to start a campaign about addressing and adopting creative initiatives to educate and promote the public on the dangers of distracted walking and crossing roads unsafely in Dublin,” Lahart concluded.