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ICBC and Surrey RCMP to crack down on ‘distracted walking’

More than 180 pedestrians were injured in motor vehicle incidents last year in Surrey.
More than 180 pedestrians were injured in motor vehicle incidents last year in Surrey. Billy Shields/Global News

We all know about distracted driving but ICBC and Surrey RCMP are now turning their attention to “distracted walking.”

According to ICBC, 40 per cent of traffic deaths in Surrey involve pedestrians, so officials are hoping to crack down on both motorists and those on foot.

READ MORE: Over 60 per cent of Canadians support ‘distracted walking’ legislation

“If you’re looking at your phone, you’re not aware of your surroundings,” said ICBC road safety coordinator Tom Webster.

“If you’ve got your headphones plugged in as well, you’re not aware of the sounds around you.”

More than 180 pedestrians were injured in motor vehicle incidents last year in Surrey, according to ICBC.

WATCH: Support growing for distracted walking laws

Support growing for distracted walking laws
Support growing for distracted walking laws

“They step off the curb and keep on walking as if they’re oblivious to the vehicles around them,” said RCMP Sgt. Gary Clarke.

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“Looking at your phone as you’re stepping out onto a street you could be taking a real risk.”

The intersection of King George Boulevard and 104th Avenue in Surrey’s Whalley neighbourhood is one of the worst for crashes involving pedestrians, he said.

READ MORE: Two Vancouver councillors support ban on texting in crosswalks

“In a lot of cases, drivers don’t see the people that they’ve struck until it’s too late to stop, and then they can’t do anything about it,” Clarke added.

A poll from 2016 showed the majority of Canadians would support “distracted walking” legislation. Back in July 2016, two Vancouver councillors proposed a ban on texting while walking in crosswalks and roadways.

~With files from Kristen Robinson and Yuliya Talmazan