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'iPod oblivion' causing concern down under

Friday 18th February 2011

Australian police are attempting to raise awareness of how the increasing use of technology can be lethal for pedestrians and cyclists, according to a BBC News report.

The condition known by psychologists as ‘divided attention’ or ‘inattentional blindness’ is the trance-like state people can enter when using mobile phones, MP3 players or electronic personal organisers.

In the Australian state of Victoria, police have been warning about the dangers of ‘iPod oblivion’. While there is no law stopping the use of headphones while cycling, the Victorian police are trying to increase public awareness of the risks. They are also penalising pedestrians who flout road safety laws.

Inspector Greg Parr said: "You call it 'iPod oblivion', I just call it stupidity. It's a constant problem. They just walk up to the road and keep on walking.

"We have always told motorists to look out for pedestrians. Now we are increasingly telling pedestrians to look out for motorists.”

A survey carried out in Queensland in September 2010 revealed that 80% of people aged between 18 and 29 sent text messages while they were walking along the road, and 73% listened to some kind of MP3 player.

Inspector Robert McCall, Queensland police, said: “It’s how young people live. They put these things in their ears and then they're off."

Click here to read the full BBC News report.

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