Does the Use of Cell Phones and Headphones at the Signalised Pedestrian Crossings Increase the Risk of Accident?

Joanna Wachnicka, Karol Kulesza


Reduction of the number of fatalities among pedestrians remains a topical issue in Poland. For many years, this percentage has remained at around 30% of all those who were killed on the road. At the same time, there is an increase in the use of electronic devices by pedestrians and cyclists that may affect their perception when crossing the road. This can lead to traffic accidents. In order to investigate the problem, field studies were carried out and their results are presented in the article. Pilot studies on pedestrian and cyclist behaviour were carried out at three pedestrian crossings with traffic lights in Gdansk. Attention was paid to whether pedestrians and cyclists use headphones when crossing the road, whether they are talking on the phone or writing SMS. The results of the research indicate that currently in Gdańsk about 10% of unprotected traffic users use a telephone and 5% use headphones at pedestrian crossings. Most of them are young people, 70–90% of all users. Women prefer using headphones more than men. Pedestrians exhibited dangerous behaviour involving entering the road at a red light regardless of the use of telephones and headphones. Therefore, as part of the studies described, it cannot be clearly stated whether the use of telephones and headphones increases the risk of being the victim of an accident. Due to the lack of separate statistics with accidents involving mobile phones and headsets, it was not possible to analyse statistical data in this respect. At the same time, research confirmed traffic disruptions at the crossings, caused by telephone users, as indicated in literature.


headphones; mobile phones; road safety; vulnerable users

Full Text:



Antic, B., Milenkovic, M., Pešic, D. (2016). The effects of mobile phone use on pedestrian crossing behaviour at unsignalized intersections – Models for predicting unsafe pedestrians behaviour. Safety Science, 82, 1–8.

Cunningham, M. L. (2018). Human Factors in Traffic Engineering Part II. Traffic Eng. Manag. Integr. Mov. PlacePublisher Monash Univ.

Felisiak, M. (2018). Słuchanie muzyki, CBOS Centrum Badania Opinii Społecznej, ISSN 2353-5822, CBOS Centrum Badania Opinii Społecznej.

Haga, S., Sano, A., Sekine, Y., Sato, H., Yamaguchi, S., Masuda, K. (2015). Effects of using a Smart Phone on Pedestrians’ Attention and Walking. Procedia Manuf. 3, 2574–2580.

Hatfield, J., Murphy, S. (2007). The effects of mobile phone use on pedestrian crossing behaviour at signalised and unsignalised intersections. Accid. Anal. & Prev. 39(1), 197–205.

Jiang, K., Ling, F., Feng, Z., Ma, C., Kumfer, W., Shao, C., Wang, K. (2018). Effects of mobile phone distraction on pedestrians’ crossing behavior and visual attention allocation at a signalized intersection: An outdoor experimental study. Accid. Anal. & Prev. 115, 170–177.

Kadali, B. R., Vedagiri, P. (2019). Evaluation of pedestrian crossing speed change patterns at unprotected mid-block crosswalks in India. J. Traffic Transp. Eng. (English Edition).

Kristianssen, A. C., Andersson, R., Belin, M. Å., Nilsen, P. (2018). Swedish Vision Zero policies for safety – A comparative policy content analysis. Saf. Sci. 103, 260–269.

Lennon, A., Williamson, A., King, M., Lewis, I., & Haque, M. (2016). Distraction and Attitudes Towards Safe Pedestrian Behaviour. Austroads Publication No. AP-R510-16.

Lin, M. I. B., Huang, Y. P. (2017). The impact of walking while using a smartphone on pedestrians’ awareness of roadside events. Accid. Anal. & Prev. 101, 87–96.

Motofakty. (n. d.). Piesza z nosem w smartfonie. Kierowca nie ustępuje pierwszeństwa. Dramatyczne nagranie z potrącenia na pasach [wideo]. Available:

Nasar, J., Hecht, P., Wener, R. (2008). Mobile telephones, distracted attention, and pedestrian safety. Accid. Anal. & Prev. 40(1), 69–75.

Nasar, J. L., Troyer, D. (2013). Pedestrian injuries due to mobile phone use in public places. Accid. Anal. & Prev. 57, 91–95.

Neider, M. B., McCarley, J. S., Crowell, J. A., Kaczmarski, H., Kramer, A. F. (2010). Pedestrians, vehicles, and cell phones. Accid. Anal. & Prev. 42(2), 589–594.

Plankermann, K. (2013). Human Factors as Causes for Road Traffic Accidents in the Sultanate of Oman under Consideration of Road Construction Designs. PhD Thesis, Regensburg University, 1–205.

Schwebel, D. C., Stavrinos, D., Byington, K. W., Davis, T., O’Neal, E. E., De Jong, D. (2012). Distraction and pedestrian safety: How talking on the phone, texting, and listening to music impact crossing the street. Accid. Anal. & Prev. 45, 266–271.

Statistics Poland. (n. d.). URL

Stavrinos, D., Byington, K. W., Schwebel, D. C. (2011). Distracted walking: Cell phones increase injury risk for college pedestrians. J. Safety Res. 42, 101–107.

Tapiro, H., Oron-Gilad, T., Parmet, Y. (2016). Cell phone conversations and child pedestrian’ s crossing behavior; a simulator study. Saf. Sci. 89, 36–44.

TVN24. (n. d.). Ze słuchawkami na uszach prosto pod tramwaj. “Nawet nie spojrzała”. Available:,43/poznan-tramwaj-omal-nie-potracil-pieszej-w-sluchawkach,894530.html?h=1bdc

TVP. (n. d.). Zapatrzona w telefon, szła prosto pod tramwaj. O krok od tragedii [WIDEO]. Available:

Walker, E. J., Lanthier, S. N., Risko, E. F., Kingstone, A. (2012). The effects of personal music devices on pedestrian behaviour. Saf. Sci. 50(1), 123–128.

WHO. (2018). Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018. World Health Organanization.

Wirtualnemedia. (n. d.). Sprzedaż smartfonów w II kwartale zmalała. Liderem Samsung, Huawei wyprzedził Apple. Available: https://www.

Wrocławska_Newspapaer. (n. d.). Wypadek na Kazimierza Wielkiego. Pieszy wpadł pod tramwaj. Nie słyszał dzwonka, bo miał słuchawki. Available:

Wyborcza. (n. d.). Pieszy potrącony na Mogilskiej w stanie ciężkim. Wtargnął pod tramwaj na czerwonym, ze słuchawkami na uszach. Available: https://,44425,24331165,pieszy-potracony-na-mogilskiej-w-stanie-ciezkim-wtargnal-pod.html

Zhou, Z., Liu, S., Xu, W., Pu, Z., Zhang, S., Zhou, Y. (2019). Impacts of mobile phone distractions on pedestrian crossing behavior at signalized intersections: An observational study in China. Adv. Mech. Eng. 11, 1–8.

DOI: 10.7250/bjrbe.2020-15.496


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Joanna Wachnicka, Karol Kulesza

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.