Call for pedestrians to be fined $200 for using their phones. Picture: iStock
Call for pedestrians to be fined $200 for using their phones. Picture: iStock

Calls for $200 fine for pedestrians

There have been renewed calls for the government to introduce a $200 on-the-spot fine for people who cross the road while looking at their phone.

The Pedestrian Council of Australia is pushing for the fine to be introduced, claiming using your phone while walking can be just as dangerous as a driver using their phone behind the wheel.

The aim of the $200 fine is to deter pedestrians from doing things like listening to music or texting when crossing the road as it can have very serious consequences.

Chairman of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, Harold Scruby, recently told 9 News that ideally the penalty would be introduced nationally and would be titled "cross road while distracted".

Mr Scruby said pedestrians are crossing the road while distracted every single day. Picture: iStock
Mr Scruby said pedestrians are crossing the road while distracted every single day. Picture: iStock

Under the new proposal, pedestrians would receive the fine even if they were crossing on a green pedestrian light.

There are already some fines in place for pedestrians that fail to obey the road rules.

Crossing within 20 metres of a pedestrian crossing, failing to obey traffic lights and failing to give way all result in a $81 fine.

This isn't the first time the organisation has called for this type of fine to be introduced.

Last year Mr Scruby told news.com.au that crossing the road while distracted is a dangerous act that people are rarely punished for.

"This behaviour is out of control. You only have to watch the behaviour of pedestrians in Sydney or anywhere in Australia to see that it is a modern phenomenon that's incredibly dangerous," he said.

"The penalties are currently very low for distracted pedestrians and they are rarely even enforced because it is often too difficult."

 

The call for harsher penalties have split public opinion.
The call for harsher penalties have split public opinion.

 

The suggestion has divided opinion, with many Australians agreeing that it is up to the pedestrian to make sure they are crossing the road safely, while others claimed the idea was ridiculous.

"Pedestrians need to be held accountable too. It's not always the car's fault when the pedestrian isn't looking properly. Definitely fine them on the spot," one Facebook user said.

"Good idea. Definitely could save lives!" another said.

But some people weren't so enthusiastic about the idea of another fine being introduced.

"Won't be long and we'll be fined for breathing in public," one person said.

"Maybe we, pedestrians, should have helmets and pay for walking licence too," another joked.

Despite the continued calls, the police told 9 News that they are "currently not considering further offences for pedestrians that are distracted.


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