By Jason Theodorou

Drivers have been warned of the dangers of so-called 'iPod zombies' - pedestrians who use MP3 players, phones and electronic organisers when on the move, as well as other drivers who fail to switch off at the wheel.

New South Wales police ran a graphic poster campaign to highlight the danger of ipod pedestrians, with AA patrols noting a marked increase in the number of 'iPod zombie pedestrians' and joggers oblivious to traffic around them as they cross busy roads.

It is thought that pedestrians' lack of attention may be a factor in some of the 500 pedestrian deaths or 26,887 pedestrian casualties last year.

Analysis from AA Insurance shows that pedestrian inattention could be the cause of 17 collisions each day and notes that there has been a 5% increase in these type of collisions in the last year.

More than half of AA Insurance claims involving a pedestrian include cases where pedestrians walked out in front of cars without looking due to use of an electronic device, and 20% of claims involved drivers swerving to avoid pedestrians and hitting another car or a lamp post.

Excluded from the analysis were cases where the pedestrian was drunk, an attempted suicide or where the driver clearly was at fault.

Edmund King, AA President, said: "We can't stop the march of technology but we need to halt the 'iPod pedestrian, cycle and driver zombies'. Whether on two feet, two wheels or four, too many people are suffering from so-called 'iPod oblivion".

"When on the move our brains have much to take in and using technological gadgets means that our brains can't always concentrate on so many things at once. This is when we walk into traffic, don't hear the truck or drive cocooned from the outside world."

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