Put down the cell phone and be alert is the message coming from Ontario provincial police, as pedestrian fatalities hit an eight year peak.
Sergeant Kerry Schmidt says 30 pedestrians have died on OPP-patrolled roads so far this year, compared with 25 in all of last year.
This is the highest number since 2007, when the pedestrian death toll hit 37.
“I think distraction has alot to do with it, I see so many pedestrians holding their cellphones with their heads buried in it and wearing earphones so they can’t hear traffic” said Schmidt.
On the flip side he says, OPP see plenty of distracted drivers.
“It’s right up there with impaired driving, aggressive driving and people not wearing their seat belts in terms of the causal factors in fatalities.”
The OPP have handed out approximately 12 thousand distracted driving tickets so far this year but according to Schmidt it’s only one part of the equation when it comes to having safer roads.
He believes there needs to be a shift in social norms.
“We need to have people voice their concerns and take a stand and let people know that they will not get into a vehicle where someone is driving with their cellphone.”