Cellphones distract kids crossing the street, says study

The study was conducted at BGU’s virtual-environment simulation laboratory, one of the world’s most sophisticated traffic-research facilities.

August 29, 2016 00:41
1 minute read.
A MAN and his children cross the street in Bnei Brak while he speaks on his cellphone.

A MAN and his children cross the street in Bnei Brak while he speaks on his cellphone.. (photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Children speaking on cellphones are less likely to cross streets safely than adults, according to a study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers that was just published in the journal Safety Science.

“The results showed that while all age groups’ crossing behaviors were affected by cellphone conversations, children were more susceptible to distraction,” said Prof.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Tal Oron-Gilad, head of BGU’s department of industrial engineering and management.

“When busy with more cognitively demanding conversation types, participants were slower to react to a crossing opportunity, chose smaller crossing gaps and allocated less visual attention to the peripheral regions of the scene.”

The study was conducted at BGU’s virtual-environment simulation laboratory, one of the world’s most sophisticated traffic-research facilities, which enables researchers to measure pedestrian reactions to virtual- reality scenarios, using a pedestrian dome simulator that consists of a 180-degree spherical screen aligned with a highly accurate three-projector system large enough to immerse a participant within its circumference.

The simulator experiment was conducted in a virtual city environment with 14 adults and 38 children who experienced road-crossing scenarios paired with predetermined cellphone conversations. The subjects were requested to press a response button whenever they felt it was safe to cross while the researchers tracked their eye movements.

“More than a third of the road traffic deaths in low- and middle-income countries are among pedestrians. This high level of involvement is particularly meaningful for child pedestrians as the proportion of child pedestrian fatalities is significantly high relative to adults,” said Oron-Gilad.

Since so many elementary- school children already have cellphones, teaching them how to cross streets and the harmful effects of speaking on phones when on them should become an integral part of their education added.

“It is important to take these findings into account when aiming to train young pedestrians about road safety and increase public awareness with children going back to school,” she said.

The ability to make better crossing decisions improved with age, Oron-Gilad concluded, indicating that the most prominent improvement was shown in the “safety gap” as each age group maintained a longer gap than the younger one preceding it.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot.
December 12, 2018
Weizmann Institute of Science Establishes Institute of Medicinal Chemistry