Oz cops sound iPod road cross death warning
'I'm on a highway to hell...'
We didn’t realise it, but an MP3 player can kill you. According to Australian police, that is, who have launched a series of hard-hitting posters designed to stop people crossing roads while changing tracks.
New South Wales MP3 death poster
Created on behalf of New South Wales (NSW) traffic cops, the ads show lifeless bodies lying in roads. Each iCorpse is outlined with a white headphone cable, instead of the traditional white chalk mark.
Does this mean only iPod users are at risk, we wonder?
John Hartley, NSW Chief Traffic Services Commander, said that an increase in the use of portable media players and mobile phones demands a greater awareness from pedestrians and drivers.
Hartley didn't detail any MP3-related road-death stats, but his general opinion seems to be that it’s not wise to cross the road while listening to AC/DC and air guitaring away in imitation of Angus Young.
The adverts are set to appear across NSW over the next few weeks.
Funnily enough I was thinking about just this topic as I walked down the street, playing with my nano (ipod you japesters)
I recalled a BBC news item from about 1982 about exactly this fear with the then-newfangled Walkman. Road safety campaigners were up in arms etc. I'd love to leave it there but as someone above wrote:
"But that does not mean I am solely responsible, nor that I am at fault if some fool walks out in front of me without looking."
A few years back I was driving down one of those suburban streets where cars are parked both sides, leaving room for at most two cars to squeeze by. Living on the street, I knew kids played on it, and it was about 4pm in the afternoon.
For this reason I was driving at about 15mph (well below the 30 speed limit) when a kid on a bike pulled out between two tightly parked cars.
As it happens his timing was lucky: he pulled out as I was going past, his front wheel of his bike hit my rear car wheel, and the kid fell off his bike.
I stopped, got out to check he was ok, and gave him a bollocking that I hope he learned from. There was nothing I could reasonably have done any better that could have made my driving safer - and if he'd have pulled out a second earlier it would all have been a bit different. (I have no doubt they'd have tried to pin it on me too.)
I now *always* drive carefully in situations like that. You would too.
So I guess you can never be too careful eh?
Here's a Solution ...
... let's set up a system where pedestrians must have insurance, same as motorists. It can even be 3rd party only, if they're not worried about their own injuries. For "walkman" users, it could be included with purchase as an annual fee. This would give pedestrians a financial incentive for being careful when crossing or walking on roads. It would also recompense entirely blameless drivers when they get dents (or worse) in their cars. To be fair, cyclists should also have to pay insurance premiums for similar reasons. I saw a guy the other day, riding fast on a racing-style bike, with earphones in, attached to a "walkman" strapped to his handlebars. If that was me, I'd want to hear what all us motorists were doing around me BEFORE I turned right across a following truck ... yes he did, but lucky for him the truck driver anticipated the move.
...the anti-MP3 campaigners also believe that deaf people should never cross the road?
The issue isn't not being able to hear, but not paying attention - which has nothing to do with music, and everything to do with... err... not paying attention. I'm just as likely to get clobbered by a vehicle if I'm gazing at an LED sign across the street, thinking about the dot pitch and size of the sub-elements, and whether they curve each element to match the building curve or if they just make a bevel on all of them. Not that I've ever done such a thing. It's hypothetical.
Sadly, Jeff, I think you're right. Several years ago, on her way to work, my wife was driving sedately through a recently built housing estate with grass verges at least 40 feet wide between road and houses on both sides. Except for one spot, where an old pub had been left at the roadside ... with an enclosed bus-shelter right outside. She knew the road well, but despite this still encountered a kid wearing a "Parka" (in June!) who walked straight out from behind the shelter. The hood was even more efficient than a "walkman" at obliterating his senses and he bounced off the front nearside of the car bonnet and wing. Fortunately for him ... and my wife ... there was an ambulance parked a little way up the road on the other side. The driver saw what happened and ran over to help. He gave my wife his card and said that he would be her witness to the fact that she was entirely blameless for the accident. The ambulance immediately took the kid to hospital, with a broken leg and bruising. My wife's insurance had to pay an emergency medical fee of £25 and, following the car repairs, they tried to reduce her NCB and collect an excess of £50. After a good deal of heavy correspondence from me, they relented on all of this. We moved the insurance cover shortly afterwards. Happily, the kid was OK and the Police never got involved, otherwise ... who knows what might have happened. And that was without a "walkman".
One of those ad campaigns
Where the visual was come up with first and they needed a cause to assign it to.