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Local TD calls for action against smartphone zombies


Local TD John Lahart says distracted walking in Dublin must be stamped out to stop people being hit by cars and bicycles or walking into rubbish bins.

The Fianna Fail deputy, and Dublin spokesman for the party, recently issued a statement highlighting the dangers posed by people using smartphones.

“Those who makes calls, send texts, listen to music, check their email or take selfies and photographs are oblivious [to] passing cars or cyclists,” Deputy Lahart said said.

“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.”

“Distracted walking is causing a major difficulty for motorists and cyclists across the capital…safety measures must be introduced to prevent injury and/or collision”.

Deputy Lahart gave the example of Stanford University in Connecticut, where fines have been introduced for people found texting while walking on campus.

He also mentioned the Hawaiian city of Honolulu which last month introduced a “smartphone zombie” law which allows police to fine pedestrians up to $35 for walking with their eyes on their phones instead of on the way ahead.

Honolulu is the first major US city to pass legislation targeting “distracted walking” in a bid to increase road safety.

Mr Lahart said pedestrians have a responsibility for their road use and made the point that the State imposes strict laws on drivers and a similar approach could be adopted towards those who travel on foot.

“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.”