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Australia To Fight iPod Use By Pedestrians 450

Posted by Soulskill
from the hard-to-fight-that-logic dept.
Kilrah_il writes "In recent years the number of people killed on roads in New South Wales, Australia has dropped, but strangely enough, the number of pedestrians killed has risen. Some think it's because of the use of iPods and other music players making people not attentive to road dangers (the so-called 'iPod Zombie Trance'). Based on this (unproven) assumption, the Pedestrian Council has started a campaign in an effort to educate the people, but apparently it isn't enough. Now, some are pushing for the government to enact laws to help eradicate the problem. 'The government is quite happy to legislate that people can lose two demerit points for having music up too loud in their cars, but is apparently unconcerned that listening devices now appear to have become lethal pieces of entertainment,' [Harold Scruby of the Pedestrian Council of Australia] said. 'They should legislate appropriate penalties for people acting so carelessly towards their own welfare and that of others. ... Manufacturers should be made to [warn] consumers of the risks they run.'"
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Australia To Fight iPod Use By Pedestrians

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  • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:28PM (#33494530)

    Just last week, a kid nearly killed himself on my car while texting on the phone and riding a bike going from the parking lot of a strip mall across a main street, with his free hand on the front brake lever.

    It was a 45mph zone and most cars zip through at 55mph at that point and it's not a place to expect pedestrians (nor was there a light). Luckily, I saw him and screech to a stop 10 feet in front of him, but he looked up and was so surprised and hit his own brake so hard that he flipped forward and took a total spill.

    He was cut up pretty good, could have been much worse, but hopefully his self-inflicted wounds cured him of his dumbassery. He looked 15 too, hope he remembers that lesson when he gets into a car.

  • Re:What the.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shadowblaster (1565487) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:29PM (#33494538)

    Apparently in about 30 minutes, Australians will find out who's going to run their country.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:39PM (#33494600)

    The Walkman wasn't/isn't nearly as interactive as the iPod/iPhone. Much more random access storage and the ability to check e-mail and SMS and worse yet respond to such things is what trip people up.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:41PM (#33494610)

    The number of kids who should be old enough - in late highschool - to behave at least somewhat sensibly and look both ways, but instead blindly walk out in front of oncoming traffic because they know they won't be blamed if they or someone else is hurt is mind boggling. It is now way too RARE to see kids actually look both ways crossing a road.

    I have a nephew who, with his group of emo friends, walks out in front of cars intentionally and laughs when they have to swerve and veer off-course.

    Of course, there is going to be a driver that isn't paying attention and one of those little emos are going to get hit. Whether or not they get the blame won't be the point. The point will be if they'll ever get to walk again and whether the guy is really covered insurance-wise. The minimum coverage a ton of people have in this country isn't going to cover shit when it comes to an extensive hospital stay, nevermind if you're crippled for life. And many people don't have enough assets to sue for. All those kids would likely end up doing it drive their own parents to the poor house or extended legal battles.

    It's shit like this that makes me want to put multipe cameras on my car just in case I do have an accident.

  • Re:What the.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by causality (777677) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:45PM (#33494640)

    It is a penal colony. You have to expect that the rules and regulations are going to be stronger.

    Yeah, and the USA is still a British colony that answers to the King George III.

    Really, who modded this "Informative"?

  • by LoRdTAW (99712) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:48PM (#33494664)

    Funny you say that. That happened to me the other day while driving a loaded van. The kid was around the same age, maybe as young as 13 and just blindly rode his bike across the road. I had the light and he did not. Although I probably had more time to stop then you. I leaned on the horn and the stupid kid just looks up and then back to his phone blissfully pedaling away.

    I can easily see how all this electronic noise can be a danger. When I first bought my new multimedia phone (before smart phones) I tried walking to work with headphones on. After the first trip, I just couldn't do it again. I felt so cut off and not being able to hear my surroundings actually scared me. Save the headphones for the bus, train or killing time.

  • by jimmyswimmy (749153) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:50PM (#33494678)

    If you are watching TV or texting or screwing your girlfriend while you're driving, you risk hurting yourself AND innocent other people who are following the rules.

    If you are listening to your ipod while you run across a street, you risk [mostly] hurting just yourself. I always thought it was my responsibility to look both ways and pay attention to what I'm doing. But I guess I need laws to remind me of that. This way, after I get hit by a car, I could get a ticket to boot. Sweet.

  • by GrumblyStuff (870046) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:50PM (#33494682)

    You know what would be great? Allowing kids to use their cellphones during gym. More specifically, dodgeball. Just amend the rules that as long as they use the phone, they can't go out and remain a viable target.

    I don't think it would take very long to catch on but then I'd be one of the ones more interested in throwing the balls.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday September 06, 2010 @11:59PM (#33494744) Homepage Journal

    How about people who are deaf like me? Will we get written up for walking around in a dangerous fashion and relying only upon our eyes to stay alive on the streets?

    Where I live it is accepted that deaf people can be educated to help them work around their inability to hear, while people who choose to be deaf by listening to loud music are impossible to get through to.

    My mother worked for her whole career teaching children with disabilities, BTW. He first job, before I was born, was teaching ballet to deaf girls.

  • Re:Laws from Myths (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dakameleon (1126377) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @12:31AM (#33494930)

    Actually, this has come about because a woman stepped out in front of a speeding ambulance - siren on, lights blaring - just last Friday.

    No law has been passed as yet, but the NSW government is concerned the 25% increase in pedestrian fatalities this year is a bad trend, and is moving to be appear to be doing something.

  • Re:What the.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by exomondo (1725132) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @12:34AM (#33494940)

    Who is RUNNING Australia?

    I mean seriously, this is STUPID

    What retard is WRITING these headlines? Some doucher from some independent organisation comes out with the idea that pedestrians should be penalised for ipod use and somehow this is representative of Australia and/or the Australian government?

  • by darkonc (47285) <stephen_samuel&bcgreen,com> on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @12:58AM (#33495052) Homepage Journal
    This is not a new problem.

    Back in the late 90's it was Sony Walkmans -- Pretty much the same problems, except that the units were much bigger (just the batteries were bigger than an ipod nano), and a casette tape only held about 2 hours of music (non-random access.. although you could fast-forward at much peril to your batteries).

    At the time a friend of my roommate volunteered for North Shore Search and Rescue, and a friend of his was a medical examiner who hated Walkman and like devices. He saw all too many fatal accidents, where the cause of the accident was a walkman preventing the victim from hearing the warning noises (horn, grinding machinery, evacuation siren and/or the desperate yells of onlookers, etc), but the official cause of death was always something else (smacked by a car, crushed by machinery, head ripped, suffocated, etc.).

    Thus it was that the Sony Walkman was always the bridesmaid of death, but never on the certificate.

    Then one day, a girl was hit by a train while walking on the train tracks, listening to a Walkman.

    The interesting thing is that she wasn't actually run over by the train. She was bounced off the track by the 'cow catcher' on the front of the train doing it's job. The real problem was that she was wearing the Walkman on her belt around the back .. just over the spleen (a very normal place to wear a walkman, since they were a bit too large to fit in most pockets). As a result, when she was hit by the train, instead of the force of the impact being relatively evenly distributed over her body by the cow-catcher, a good bit of it was concentrated into the Walkman and directed into her internal organs. Much like is claimed to have recently happened to a girl in Crete [bbc.co.uk].

    Although she seemed to (more or less) walk away from the accident, she soon collapsed and died from her internal injuries.

    Since the Walkman was a major contributing cause of the accident, and effectively delivered the killing blow, the examiner was finally able to put on a death certificate:

    Cause of Death: Sony Walkman.

  • Re:The reason why (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @01:04AM (#33495076) Journal

    The problem with that is this part of your sentence "unless you use common sense" which sadly in this day and age is about like this poster [motifake.com]. Hell just the other day I come up on a horrible bike wreck, I knew one of the cops handling the wreck so I asked Mike what went down "Oh the usual, just another moron paying attention to everything but what was in front of him while tailing a truck too close at 60MPH+". I swear if we can't even get morons to wear helmets or pay attention to what is going on when they are flying at 60 less than a foot off the pavement, what chance do we have of getting them to pay attention while they bebop down the road listening to their iPod?

    Personally I think it is just another case of Darwinism, where the government tries to foolproof the world only to find out they were even bigger fools than they thought. Why do you think we have to put "Open First" on Campbell soup cans now? the world is just too chock full of dumbass today.

  • by causality (777677) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @01:24AM (#33495182)

    They should legislate appropriate penalties for people acting so carelessly towards their own welfare

    Everything that's wrong about nanny state in one sentence.

    Why do some people feel the need to interfere with natural selection?

    1) Because they have fevered egos that really get off on finding ways to control people that they don't feel guilty about ("it's for their own good!"). It gives them an excuse to pat themselves on the back and celebrate their own good intentions, further exaggerating their own self-importance and rationalizing their exercise of power. It also lets them portray you as a bad guy if you oppose them, at which point they gain an opportunity to climb up on their high horse and further exaggerate their own self-importance in a different way. Prohibition in the USA was started and (with substances other than alcohol) continues because of people like this.

    2) Because they are selfish bastards who have no illusions whatsoever about what they are doing and simply find it to be profitable. If this idea eventually becomes law, then the fines and fees from any citations issued will have to be collected. It certainly wouldn't be the first time state revenues were raised for the supposed purpose of protecting someone or another. Speeding violations generate lots of ticket revenues in the name of safety despite most accidents not being caused by speeding and that's because of people like this.

    Most of the people like this have tunnel vision to begin with. For them, there's no worries about natural selection because most of them won't be around anyway to see what happens when another generation or three grows up accepting this as a norm. These are not people who want to take a hard look at the damage they do except in the most minimal way possible and only when it directly affects them.

  • by Dr Max (1696200) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @01:34AM (#33495216)

    I can easily see how all this electronic noise can be a danger. When I first bought my new multimedia phone (before smart phones) I tried walking to work with headphones on. After the first trip, I just couldn't do it again. I felt so cut off and not being able to hear my surroundings actually scared me. Save the headphones for the bus, train or killing time.

    You could just use one of your earpieces. I feel to claustrophobic with both earpieces in. It might take a bit of getting used to but you should be able to listen to office conversations while grooving out, and you'll defiantly hear a car. Even though you should be looking before you cross the road anyway. What if a prius was coming down the street?

  • Re:Laws from Myths (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @02:02AM (#33495316)

    Exactly. And incidentally, if you have your iPod turned up so loud you can't hear an ambulance siren, you're going to end up stone deaf in short order. I would be interested to see what happens in 2030 or so (if I'm still here), when we have half a generation wandering around with hearing-aids...

    Why 2030? We don't need to wait another 20 years, portable music players aren't new. All this hoo-hah about iPods is just a repeat of the hoo-hah about kids going deaf from listening to their walkmans too loud back in the late 80s.
    - fractoid-with-modpoints

  • Re:demerits? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @02:03AM (#33495318)

    Translate that to the American "Points on your license" phrase. Doesn't sound so childish now.

    Oh, ok.

    I was confused- in the US we don't require a license to walk down the street, even while chewing gum. Or using an iPod.

    (relax people it's a joke)

    But to be more serious, in the 'states we don't put negative marks on a person's license for things like loud music or an offensive paint job, we just fine you some cash. Same for parking violations. We only hit someone's license for "moving violations" which are things that relate to actually operating the vehicle properly. So yes, potentially taking someone's drivers license away for listening to loud music or doing something completely unrelated to driving (such as walking while using an iPod), IS rather childish and petty.

  • by kramulous (977841) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @04:29AM (#33495982)

    Is this what has become of the once proud Australians who live and thrive in the land of the Outback?

    Just about anybody you talk to or hear about from Australia is from one of 5 very small cities. Very, very few people actually come from the outback that people like to romaticise about. None of the city folk have any idea about country life and I shit you not have seen Aussies (the city ones) go absolutely berserk when they see an insect.

    When I moved to the city I couldn't believe the attitudes exhibited by the city dwellers. The general assumption is that those not from the city are redneck, dumb and ignorant. Some cities will even slag off other city dwellers as the same. The irony is lost. As time progresses, these attitudes are worsening. It is really quite sad.

    The funny thing is that a lot of the city folk will slag off Americans as stupid (again with the irony). Yet they don't realise that the attitudes they have learned originally came from American movies and TV shows that do the same about the 'deep south'. The Aussie city people somehow learned that it was ok to do this.

    The city dwellers are those that advocate these stupid laws. They have their own little worlds and anybody outside that bubble is wrong about everything.
    [/rant: for now]

  • Re:What the.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by e3m4n (947977) on Tuesday September 07, 2010 @06:39AM (#33496484)

    It isn't common knowledge, but the Pedestrian Council of Australia is only one person, Harold Scruby. A year or two ago, he was responsible for 90% of complaints against TV ads, especially car ads. He is a fruit loop who likes to cause trouble

    thanks for that information. Its a whole lot easier a pill to swallow that one elected nutjob is making outlandish remarks rather than having to swallow the entire country is bonkers and more than one elected nutjob has come up with this idea.

    I don't suppose there has been an equal increase of pedestrians killed walking in front of trains have there? Pinning this increase in deaths on an 'ipod zombie state' should be seen in an increase in all forms of related deaths and injuries (walking in front of trains and cars, falling off edges of road, platforms). Otherwise its a clear case of correlation != causation.

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