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Sydney mobile phone pedestrians to get 'traffic' lights in pavement

ABC News logo ABC News 30/05/2016

Increasing number of accidents are being blamed on mobile phone users looking at their screens. © SW Augsburg/Thomas Hosemann via ABC News Increasing number of accidents are being blamed on mobile phone users looking at their screens. Pavement "traffic" lights are being trialled in Sydney in a bid to stop pedestrian accidents blamed on people looking at their phones while walking.

While the exact number of accidents put down to so called "petextrians" is not known, Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon told 702 ABC Sydney the use of phones while walking was now "highly prevalent", and a risk.

"Just the tragedy of the number of pedestrians that have died on the road in the last 18 months, we're looking at every opportunity to make the environment safer for pedestrians," he said.

"The lights are aimed at pedestrians using mobile phones who are not looking where they are walking.

"They will serve as another layer of warning on top of existing lights and signals to let pedestrians know when it is safe to cross the road."

The NSW Government is expecting to install the lights in a six-month trial in December at a cost of $250,000.

Mr Carlon said a range of measures had been introduced recently to protect pedestrians -including CBD trials of countdown pedestrian traffic lights in Martin Place.

But he said aiming measures directly at distracted phone users was the right thing to do.

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