Digital Deadwalkers

We need to take action. It’s important we pool our planetary thinking to come up with a solution for inattentional blindness aka digital deadwalking. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons made this video to try to do something. It is not going to work unless we all pay attention and use all the thinking we have at our disposal to stop people walking around , with phones and iPods plugged into their ears , from being killed. The number of pedestrian plugged in , distracted people being killed is increasing world wide. This is not very clever of us. We have some cool gadgets but they should not be putting our lives at risk. We do not seem to go through the obvious risk assessment teaching and learning that we probably would do with industrial machinery. Technology is being accepted as safe and yet , clearly, it is not so there has to be education around that for safety and well being as there is for using industrial machines. As simple as the water and electricity don’t mix idea. Plugged in pedestrians and traffic don’t mix.

pedestrian fatalities Image:spike in pedestrian accidents.

While the research is in its infancy, Queensland University of Technology’s Amy Williamson said 30 per cent of those polled so far admitted to having a near-miss with a vehicle and 15 per cent blamed their phone distraction.abc.net.au

My own concern is that perhaps this behaviour is turning into a learned habit, even without the device. This year at school I have had a number of Year 8s just walk straight into me or nearly miss my face when they open a door. They do not realise I am there. There is nothing intentional about their behaviour . They are usually embarrassed about what they did and are polite and apologetic , so it tends to suggest they are doing what is natural to them and not taking in the people and things around them. It may have nothing to do with being habitually plugged in but I am wondering if that is causing this behaviour? In class they are happy, engaged, alert people so they are all then cued into competent, productive behaviour.

It is time to stop thinking about it because we have been noticing pedestrian , plugged in deaths around traffic and transport since 2009. We really need to face this head on and find some solutions. Giving them their own lane to walk in is not changing the behaviour into something safer.

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