Mayor de Blasio wants pedestrians to pay attention, stay off phones

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Tim Fleischer has the story.

Pedestrian deaths in New York City are close to another record low this year.

The mayor's "Vision Zero" campaign appears to be a huge success.

But now, a part of the campaign involves smart phones.

So many people walking in New York City have their heads buried in their phones, and it could cost them their lives.

"I don't realize where I am and I just figured it out where I am in the middle of the street, they honk at me," said Joel Bautista, a pedestrian.

Bautista knows how easily he and other pedestrians can be distracted by our digital world: our music, phone calls and constant texting.

Pedestrian safety and responsibility came up while Mayor Bill de Blasio was on the radio with Brian Lehrer.

"There are consequences for their actions, people have to take responsibility," a caller said.

"The digital age has come with a huge unintended consequence. The folks with the headphones on and walk into the crosswalk," Mayor de Blasio said.

The mayor, while driving himself, has witnessed the digital dangers distracting pedestrians.

"People have walked right in front of the car, absolutely in a daze, because they are focused on their podcast or whatever it is," Mayor de Blasio said.

"We all see distracted pedestrians, but most pedestrians are struck in the cross walk doing everything right," said Paul Steely White, executive director, Transportation Alternatives.

Steely White would like to see more money budgeted for "Vision Zero" efforts to protect pedestrians and bicyclists.

"Even if pedestrians are occasionally distracted that shouldn't be cause for death. We can design our streets so that when people make a mistake the penalty is not death," Steely White said.

"The core of the problem is not the pedestrian or the bicyclist; it's the person who is driving a vehicle and is speeding or going through and intersection without yielding to pedestrians. That's what 'Vision Zero' is first addressing," Mayor de Blasio said.

Still, some pedestrians believe you have to be careful.

"I don't think anyone should have headsets on when walking across the street. It's very dangerous. I never do," a pedestrian said.

"I don't want to cause a traffic jam or anything like that. I try to pay as much attention as possible with headphones on or texting," said Amanda Rios, a pedestrian.
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pedestrianssafetyvision zerobill de blasioNew York City
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