Constant use of mobile devices is now part of everyday life, but alarming new statistics have revealed it’s a danger that impacts many Australians every time they leave the house.

A recent survey conducted by Guide Dogs Australia and VisAbility revealed almost half of all people who use a white cane were bumped into at least once every time they are out, with almost 60% of cane users reporting the incidences were caused by people engrossed in their mobile devices.

Worryingly, almost half of all cane users had also been knocked over, injured or had their cane broken by someone walking into them in the last two years.

Image of a woman walking with her cane next to a Guide Dogs Queensland instructor

We’re launching the “Eyes Up” campaign ahead of International White Cane Day on 15 October, calling on members of the community to look up from their mobile devices when they’re walking to help those who are blind or vision impaired stay safe.

CEO Michael Kightley said something very commonplace poses a major danger for people who are blind or vision impaired every day.

“Our instructors work with cane users to teach them the skills they need to get around their communities safely and independently, but unfortunately there are certain environmental factors, like moving people, that they often can’t identify until it’s too late,” Michael said.

“Most of the time situations where they run into someone, sometimes resulting in an injury or a broken cane, occur because the other person was on their mobile phone and not paying attention to where they were walking.

“We need the community’s help to look out for those who can’t see as well as you and I can, by keeping their eyes up and being mindful of who’s around them while using mobile devices in public.”

We all have a role to play in helping to make sure people who are blind or vision impaired can get around their communities safely and confidently, just like everyone else. Taking small actions while using your mobile device can make a big difference to help reduce the danger to those who are blind or vision impaired.

It can be as easy as:

  • Waiting until you reach your destination to check your mobile device, or
  • Using more caution by slowing your pace and looking up often if you have to use your device while walking.

Many of us have become accustomed to using our mobile devices constantly, but it’s something we can easily be more mindful of to help ensure all Queenslanders are able to feel safe and independent.

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