Planning needed to deal with ‘wonky walking’ | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Planning needed to deal with ‘wonky walking’

An American academic who specialises in both adolescent psychology and regional planning will discuss whether mobile devices are turning teens into wonky walkers when he addresses a free public seminar at the University of the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday 1 July.

Seth LaJeunesse from the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Centre says distracted walking needs to be considered in much the same way as distracted driving.

“Especially among adolescents, walking-related injuries have soared in recent years, as growing numbers of young people take to listening to music, texting and talking on the phone while walking,” he said.

Mr LaJeunesse will discuss observation of local teens’ walking behavior, how other communities are trying to tackle the issue of distracted walking, and the directions for future research in this field.

His talk about ’Distracted walking: How device-carrying teens are changing the study of pedestrian safety’ will be one of four presentations at the public seminar at USC’s Innovation Centre auditorium from 9am to noon.

The seminar – ‘Dangerous Driving and Wonky Walking: Improving Teen Road Safety’ – is aimed at anyone interested in adolescent safety, including parents, teachers, academics and policy makers and is also open to teens.

The other presentations will be:

  • ‘What every parent needs to know about supervising a new teen driver’ by Arthur Goodwin of the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center;
  • ‘Parents have an important role in helping provisional drivers comply with road rules’, by Dr Lyndel Bates of Griffith University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice; and
  • ‘Paintwork and passengers: The young driver's dream car’ – Dr Bridie Scott-Parker, who is a National Health and Medical Research Council Research Fellow based at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Registrations for the seminar can be made online via For more details phone 5456 5595 or email

— Terry Walsh

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