In my work raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, I've heard from a number of drivers complaining about pedestrians who are texting, listening to mp3 players, or talking on cell phones while walking.
And, it's not just cars and trucks that pedestrians are ignoring. As in the video above, oblivious to the dangers around them, pedestrians distracted by cell phone calls and text messages also risk deadly encounters with the transit buses and commuter trains around them.
So, as DOT works to make more transportation options available, we want to make sure pedestrians stay focused and keep their eyes and minds open. That's why the Federal Transit Administration is supporting a new pedestrian safety campaign.
Produced by rail safety advocates Operation Lifesaver with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, the new campaign uses bus shelter posters and on-board video public service announcements to remind commuters to “Stay Focused! Stay Alive!”
This campaign is in addition to the strong campaign, supported by the Federal Railroad Administration, that Operation Lifesaver is waging against distracted driving. That campaign began last month with this audio PSA:
“We want to remind drivers and pedestrians to avoid electronic distractions, especially near train tracks. Whether you are on foot or driving a vehicle, distraction can be deadly, and trains can’t stop quickly because of their size and weight.”
Look, communication is very important to me. And you know from my online activity that I appreciate the internet, whether it's mobile or at my desk. But when I'm driving, I just drive. And when I'm riding my bicycle, I just ride. And when I'm walking, I just walk.
I'm not saying it's easy to turn these devices off. People love listening to music or podcasts on their mp3 players. They want to stay in touch with their friends, their families, their colleagues and clients by texting and talking on their cell phones. They want to keep up-to-date on the latest scores and news.
But these habits get drivers and pedestrians killed. And Operation Lifesaver wants to do something about that. So, as the nice weather has more of us out of doors and walking, let's do as they suggest:
Stay focused! Stay alive!