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FedEx Express/Safe Kids Korea Publishes Findings On Distracted Walking by Korean Students

Findings Show More Than 30% of Students Have Experienced Near-Accidents Due to Distractions from Electronic Devices When Walking

May 10, 2016

FedEx Express (FedEx), a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and the world’s largest express transportation company, together with Safe Kids Korea, released a study on “distracted walking” by middle and high school students.  The research found that one in five high school students and one in six middle school students were crossing the street while texting on a smart phone or wearing headphones.

Distracted walking indicates the use of electronic devices while walking.  It is dangerous because it diverts a pedestrian’s vision and auditory senses.  This is a serious issue as traffic accidents are the second leading cause of death among students and children aged 1-19 in South Korea.

According to the 635 students surveyed in Seoul, more than 87% of students have crossed the street while using an electronic device.  Students commented that when using a smartphone they “couldn’t see the car coming” (43.4%) or “noticed the car too late to react” (23.2%), and “couldn’t hear the sound of a car approaching” (19.7%).  More than 30% have almost gotten into a car accident while 17% had been in a traffic accident as a result of using their phones when walking.

Seventy-two percent of students said they used electronic devices when there was a traffic light on the cross walk.  The observational study of more than 14,200 students showed that students were more likely to be distracted if there is a traffic light present.  This is known as risk compensation: the idea that as safety solutions are engineered to reduce the number and severity of accidents, people actually take more risks[1].  Given that most Korean students (approximately 97%) possess mobile phones, FedEx and Safe Kids Korea emphasized the importance of education on the dangers of distracted walking.

“At FedEx, we are committed to help enhance road safety in Korea,” explained Eun-Mi Chae, managing director of FedEx Express Korea.  “Sixty-seven percent of students in the survey said they have never received safety education about distracted walking.  We see an opportunity to increase road safety education and believe our support in the “Prevent Distracted Walking” campaign will help reduce pedestrian accidents.”

“According to the National Police Agency, the number of children from the ages of 15 to 19 who died from traffic accidents increased 25% compared to 2014.” added Eui-Ho Hwang, Co-representative of Safe Kids Korea.  “We need to encourage our pedestrians to put down electronic devices and pay attention to their surroundings. We will continue to increase awareness about safe walking habits, particularly for children who are more vulnerable to traffic accidents.”

FedEx and Safe Kids Korea will be participating in Safe Seoul on May 21 to promote the “Prevent Distracted Walking” campaign and raise awareness about pedestrian safety.

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