A couple of months back, while we were on respite at the Laguna Quays Respite cottage, having a quiet cuppa after dinner, watching the television news, an alarming items popped up, that in an 11 week period 27 pedestrian's had lost their lives in Victoria alone.
The vast majority of those 27 deaths were associated with the pedestrian, not the driver of the motor vehicle, the pedestrian being on their mobile phone or having ear plugs listening to (whatever) and not paying attention when crossing the street. For the sake of simplicity I'll use "mobile phone" to cover all such.
Now, I along with every other published columnist it seems, have written articles citing chapter and verse with statistical references that would "kill a bull if a bull could read" (as the old adage says), of motor vehicle drivers being involved in accidents and road deaths when on mobile phones.
But now we're witnessing a very different kind of mobile phone related deaths anomaly, that of the haphazard pedestrian, for want of a little attention, lost all that was precious to them and moreover their loved ones.
The news item seemed to suggest that legislation would on the cards as to mobile phone use as a pedestrian, and here it becomes a little tricky as one might imagine. Now. I'm not a little sure at all, how and when a criminal offense might be drafted in terms of it being an illegal act to be on your mobile phone.
In Victoria, Christian pastors can be charged and hauled before the courts for citing chapter and verse and quoting that passage from the Islamic holy book where it is the duty of Mohammed followers to kill Christians (which is what is happening in some parts of the world with ISIS and published in Victorian newspapers as 'news'), so I'd imagine someone within the Victorian bureaucracy would be more than willing to have a go at writing legislation for mobile phone use 'as a pedestrian'.
In a more darker moment, putting myself in the shoes of someone within the Victorian bureaucracy given the task of writing legislation against those recalcitrant pedestrians who dare to speak on their mobile phone, here is a probable no go list:
Suggestions - illegal for pedestrians / mobile phone
Within 100 feet of a pedestrian crossing
* anything closer might entice others to use their mobile phones
Within 100 yards of a school
* anything closer might distract the kiddies when leaving the school gate
Within any precinct of an alfresco business (coffee whatever)
* walking by on the mobile phone might distract patrons to a hot coffee injury
To or from a supermarket / airports / train stations / coach terminals
* we've all seen it, uncontrollable trolley's / bags while on the mobile phone
Around the barbie
* we all know, we have two hands, one to hold the tinnie, one with the bbq utensil – there is not a third hand for the mobile phone, and clearly that should be on the list as well.
Mobile phone cubicles
I know, sounds like – wait for it – up-market module mobile phone cubicles, Councils could paint them red, and that's where it would be safe and legal to use your mobile phone. If I remember correctly, from the Superman children's television series in the fifties, wasn't something like this used for Clark Kent to change into his Superman outfit?
These red cubicles were strategically placed all over the city, regional towns and small country villages and passers-by needed a coin to make use of them. What were they called again? That's right, telephone boxes! It could be - back to the future!
Once again, that terrible notion that legislation overrides common sense is raising its ugly head. At what point does anyone of us become responsible for our own actions.
Surely, as night follows day, we know that it is dangerous to walk across a road, any road, without looking to your right, to your left and to your right again, before attempting to take your first step.
The fear of a nanny state is a constant and Victoria has a woeful legacy as cited above, that they somehow need to lead the way to protect its citizens from themselves by carving ever more frightful legislation. Many were hopeful that a change in Government two years back would have got the scissors to this stuff.
I wonder how the legislation will be spelt-out about reading your bible – will it a Daniel scenario all over again.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html