Distracted pedestrians to blame for many accidents on Wellington streets - new data

Data shows distracted pedestrians are to blame for many accidents on Wellington's streets over the last half-decade.

The capital is marketed as New Zealand's most walkable city, but distracted Wellingtonians are walking right into the stream of traffic.

"It's quite worrisome, the number of people being injured on our roads," said Paul Barker, the Wellington City Council's network improvements manager.

The CBD's Golden Mile is the main culprit. In the last five years, it's seen 64 crashes involving pedestrians, 61 pedestrians have been injured, and in 48 cases, pedestrians were partly to fault.

"Clearly cellphones keep coming up, time and time again. Whether it's headphones or people talking or texting," said Barker.

Newshub sent a camera down to The Golden Mile for an hour today and saw multiple people using their phones.

Road safety advocates say it's not just a problem in Wellington.

"We do tend to see pedestrian injuries around our urban areas," said Caroline Perry from BRAKE.

Some countries have started issuing fines for pedestrians crossing the road while on their phones, and Perry says it could be an option here, but not yet. 

"I think some of that is actually getting more data around what's happening with these pedestrian injuries. So how many of them have involved distraction or phone use before we look at what to do," she said.

Wellingtonians Newshub spoke to were keen on the idea of fines.

"I feel like it should just come under common sense, like don't get run over, it really can't be that hard," said one. Another recommended signs to remind people to be aware of their surroundings.

The council says fines aren't on the table, but it is looking at ways to keep people focused on their surroundings.


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