Ditch gadgets and stay safe on roads

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HUCKNALL pupils who returned to school this week are being urged to “ditch the distraction” and put away mobile gadgets like phones and MP3 players while using the county’s roads.

Notts County Council is launching a campaign aimed at slashing the number of accidents involving 11- to 18 year-old pedestrians – many of them involving young people wearing headphones.

“It’s a fact of modern life that more and more schoolchildren are using their mobile phones or listening to MP3 players whilst out and about – and unfortunately they can be a distraction,” says Coun Richard Jackson (Con), chairman of the County Council’s transport and highways committee.

“Nottinghamshire’s roads will be a lot busier as people return to work after the summer break. Combine that with schools starting back and pupils really do need to have their wits about them at all times.”

A national study last year of 4,000 pedestrians showed that more than half were crossing roads while using a gadget and not paying proper attention to cars.

And one in ten motorists reported having had a near-miss with a so-called ‘iPedestrian’ in the past five years.

The Nottinghamshire campaign includes posters and postcards being distributed to schools.

A Facebook page and – in a County Council ‘first’ – pavement art in the form of one-metre square stickers positioned outside schools.

“The posters and the pavement art are striking but the message, in a nutshell, is simple: don’t be distracted by your mobile phone or MP3 player when out on the street, crossing the road, or riding a bike,” added Coun Jackson.

“The law says that motorists must pull over before using their mobile phones and for safety’s sake I would urge pupils to do something similar and pocket their mobile gadgets until they’re in a place where they can use it safely.”

Motorists are also being urged to take extra care as the new school year begins.

“It is important that motorists drive safely at any time of year, but as children return to school we are asking people to be extra vigilant,” said Coun Jackson.