AA warns drivers of iZombies

9 Aug 2010

While earphones and earbuds are the ideal way to block out irritating noises on your morning commute the British Automobile Association is warning us of the dangers of becoming “iPod zombie pedestrians”.

Apparently the self-imposed attention deficit to pedestrians and joggers as a result of wearing earphones and listening to music on their iPod or other MP3 players as they walk about could be the cause of 17 collisions each day.

The AA further noted that these kind of collisions have increased by 5ps in the past year, with more than half of AA Insurance claims involving a pedestrian including factors like ‘man on phone stepped out, wasn’t looking’ or ‘pedestrian just walked out’, or ‘he walked into the side of the car’.

Around 20pc of these kind of claims, say that AA, came from incidents where the driver swerved to avid a pedestrian and hit something else such as a lamp-post or another car.

This is what the AA is referring to as unintentional blindness or divided attention, where pedestrians are so busy checking email, listening to music, talking on the phone or checking out their apps that they literally step into the street without looking.

“We can’t stop the march of technology but we need to halt the ‘iPod pedestrian, cycle and driver zombies’. Whether on two feet, two wheels or four, too many people are suffering from so-called ‘iPod oblivion’,” said Edmund King, president of the UK AA.

“When on the move our brains have much to take in and using technological gadgets means that our brains can’t always concentrate on so many things at once. This is when we walk into traffic, don’t hear the truck or drive cocooned from the outside world.”

Image: A graphic poster from New South Wales police force warning pedestrians of the dangers of listening to MP3 players and not paying attention