It’s the same message we drivers hear every year at this time. The messages warning drivers to be extra cautious and vigilant of the children and teens flooding the streets as they head back to class.
But what about the pedestrians themselves?
Although drivers have a responsibility to follow the rules of the road, which include obeying school bus signals and crossing guards, they must now contend with adolescents who, themselves, can be hazardous - as distracted walkers.
West Parry Sound OPP warn drivers that kids are more likely to be “inattentive and unaware of their surroundings” using their cell phones to text or talk on their way to and from school. With their heads down, reading or sending a text or even watching a video.
While it’s against the law for drivers to talk on cell phones or text while driving, there’s no such law for walkers.
Although we think the law against driving and texting or talking on cell phones is necessary for motorists, it’s not a realistic law for pedestrians.
But that doesn’t mean that teens and adults alike shouldn’t be held accountable.
There are hundreds of online videos showing the gaffs people make while texting and walking; some of them frightening.
Yes, drivers be aware of children crossing the road before and after school, but kids, you too need to take your own safety into account.
Stop somewhere safe to read or send a text, have a seat on one of the many benches around town. Don’t think it can happen to you? Take a look at those funny online videos and photos. Consider whether any of the victims caught on camera thought it could happen to them.
It’s worth a reminder to motorists to slow and stop for busses, check for children when leaving a parking spot or approaching a school zone, etc… But now we include this new token of caution as the use of portable tablets and other devices take off – for your own safety and the safety of others around you, don’t text and walk, don’t talk and walk, and don’t surf the web and walk. You’ll have time for all of that when you reach your destination.