Pedestrian deaths have become the leading cause of road accidents in most developed countries. In the United States alone, phones cause over 6,000 deaths every year. Over half of the pedestrian injuries happen because people are distracted by their phones while crossing the streets or walking on the road.
But Lithuania is finding new ways to curb the number of pedestrians involved in road accidents. As per a new regulation introduced by the Baltic country’s government, people will be banned from using their mobile devices as soon as they step on the streets.
Lithuania’s transport minister Rokas Masiulis said in a live cabinet meeting:
“Pedestrians must not use mobile devices before stepping onto the street or walking across it”
From November 2018, people talking on the phone while crossing the streets or even checking their phones while being on the streets will fetch a fine of up to €40 (approx Rs 3,400). According to the country’s government, such a law is required to keep a check on the rate of pedestrian deaths in the country which is the third-worst in the European Union after Romania and Latvia. In 2017, 68 pedestrians were killed by cars or motorcycles in the country with a population of 2.8 million.
Lithuania is not alone though. Last year, Honolulu in Hawaii banned viewing a mobile device during crossings. There are calls to introduce a similar phone distraction law in Australia with a $200 fine.
But perhaps no country needs this law more than India, where nearly 1.5 lakh lose their lives in road accidents every year. According to the latest govt study, about 56 pedestrians are killed on Indian roads every day. Since 2014, the number of pedestrians killed on Indian roads has jumped by 66%. In 2016, 13 states accounted for 86% of the total road accidents in the country, including Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.