Traffic Lights for Smartphone Zombies

Ruben Baart
July 22nd 2016

Beware of Smombies! Don't you know who they are? "Smombies" has been voted Word of 2015 in Germany to describe the zombie-like behavior of smartphone users causing traffic accidents. Augsburg, a city near Munich, is experimenting with embedding traffic lights into the pavement, warning pedestrians who are busy looking at their screens while walking.

An American study from 2012 showed how smartphone usage distracts one out of three “petextrians” when crossing a street. Another study from 2014 found an ascending line of fifteen percent since 2009 when it comes to American pedestrian causalities. New Jersey proposed a measure leading up to fines of 50 US dollars to 15 days of imprisonment. Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt commented“An individual crossing the road distracted by their smartphone presents just as much danger to motorists as someone jaywalking and should be held, at minimum, to the same penalty”.

Earlier this year was announced that Sydney is planning to install in-ground traffic lights. These are not the first experiments done in ground level signaling. In the Chinese city of Chongqing, an entire sidewalk was devoted to the problem. It seems smartphones make us walk on thin ice. In case you are planning to play Pokémon on the go, make sure to catch the lights.

Source: The Guardian

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