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Men most likely to mow you down

The Sun-Herald

Sunday 7 September 2003

MALE drivers between the ages of 17 and 39 are more likely to be distracted when driving and kill or injure a pedestrian, a new survey says.

The lapse in concentration is most likely to occur while illegally using a mobile phone, tuning the car radio, playing a CD or interacting with passengers.

Protecting pedestrians - who now account for one out of every three fatalities in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong - is the theme of a $1.3 million Watch Out road safety campaign to be launched today.

"Up to the end of August, 46 pedestrians have been killed in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong this year," said Roads Minister Carl Scully, who will launch the multimedia advertising blitz.

"In 2002, tragically, 69 pedestrians lost their lives in these three cities and 2078 were injured.

"The campaign graphically illustrates that a momentary lapse of concentration, or taking your eyes off the road for a second while driving a car, can have devastating consequences."

Mr Scully said for pedestrians, the message was equally simple: "Watch out, cars about.
"While the Watch Out message is relevant for all pedestrians, the new radio ads specifically target people aged 55 and over.

"More than half of all pedestrians killed and a quarter of all pedestrians injured last year were over 50.

"We are trying to raise awareness among this group of their increased vulnerability as pedestrians, and to promote safer crossing practices."

Welcoming the initiative, Harold Scruby executive director of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, said: "Pedestrians are the largest road user group and the most vulnerable group, yet some motorists seem to believe they are a nuisance.

"We have to do something to reduce accidents, if only because injuries to pedestrians constitute a huge burden on society in terms of health costs."