The effects of mobile phone use on pedestrian crossing behaviour at signalized and unsignalized intersections

Accid Anal Prev. 2007 Jan;39(1):197-205. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2006.07.001. Epub 2006 Aug 21.


Research amongst drivers suggests that pedestrians using mobile telephones may behave riskily while crossing the road, and casual observation suggests concerning levels of pedestrian mobile-use. An observational field survey of 270 females and 276 males was conducted to compare the safety of crossing behaviours for pedestrians using, versus not using, a mobile phone. Amongst females, pedestrians who crossed while talking on a mobile phone crossed more slowly, and were less likely to look at traffic before starting to cross, to wait for traffic to stop, or to look at traffic while crossing, compared to matched controls. For males, pedestrians who crossed while talking on a mobile phone crossed more slowly at unsignalized crossings. These effects suggest that talking on a mobile phone is associated with cognitive distraction that may undermine pedestrian safety. Messages explicitly suggesting techniques for avoiding mobile-use while road crossing may benefit pedestrian safety.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attention*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Automobile Driving / psychology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Phone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Safety / statistics & numerical data*
  • Walking / injuries
  • Walking / psychology*