An alarming number of teenagers take selfies crossing India’s dangerous roads

Phoning in trouble.
Phoning in trouble.
Image: AP Photo/Manish Swarup
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Road accidents kill 17 people every hour in India and, yet, drivers fail to give up risky habits.

Around 30% of Indians under the age of 45 said that at least sometimes while riding a motorbike, they would send text messages—via SMS, WhatsApp, Twitter, or Facebook—from their phones, a survey by Samsung India found. The oldest age group (55+) was the safest, with 80% of the respondents saying they’d focus fully on the road.

The study’s results are based on face-to-face interviews conducted with 1,341 respondents aged between 15 and 60 across 12 Indian cities.

Car drivers are more careless, the results showed.

Respondents were as negligent about receiving calls while riding two-wheelers. Large segments of those aged between 15 and 20 and between 20 and 25, were the least prudent, saying they’d instinctively answer incoming calls. Once again, the 55 years+ category was the most cautious, with 77% of them never mixing phone calls and traffic.

Women, too, were less likely to take risks in general with only around 8% of them saying they’d always pick up calls while riding, compared to over 14% of men. With texting, the disparity was less but it still existed.

Beyond vehicles

“Pedestrians’ attitude to safety is no different from drivers,” the survey said, adding “64% (of them)…regularly answer the phone while crossing a road.” In the country with purportedly the most number of selfie deaths in the world, over half the respondents under 20 years admitted to talking selfies while crossing the road, too.

According to Samsung’s survey, at least seven in 10 people across all age groups expressed concern over the number of children crossing the road while using their mobile devices. When asked if phones should come with built-in settings to deter their on-road use, the replies were a mixed bag.