Australia looks out for phone addicts because we’re now officially glued to our smartphones. It’s easy to get distracted while you’re on the street, browsing through the news or check-in up on what’s new in your Facebook news feed. It’s also easy for something bad to happen to you if you can’t take your eyes off the screen while crossing the street.
According to a study, 4,735 pedestrians were killed in 2013 in the US. About 3.5 percent of those died while walking and using their phones. Another study at Stony Brook University showed that people tend to wander off course 61 percent of the time while text chatting. The most prone to getting hit by a car while texting are teens. Nearly 40 percent of US teenagers have been hit, or narrowly avoided being hit, while being distracted by their smartphones.
Australia is facing the same problem, and it came with an innovative solution to the issue.
The New South Wales government has set out to take matters into its own “hands” and try to save the citizens’ lives. Officials will implement a six-month trial by installing in-ground traffic lights. These lights will act in the same way as standard crossing lights. You’ll know when it’s safe to cross the road even when hypnotized by the phone.
The new crossing light technology involves rows of lights set at curbs that turn green and blink when it’s safe to cross the street.
About 61 pedestrians died on the roads of New South Wales in 2015. The number of deaths is enormous given that it represents a 49 percent boost from 2014.
Authorities aim to reduce the road death toll by all means. This week, officials have also launched the “Towards Zero” advertising campaign in the hopes of increasing awareness on accident rates.
The trial will start in December. As for the price? Australia looks out for phone addicts by investing a staggering AUD 250,000 (USD 181,000) in the new in-ground traffic light technology. The innovative crossing lights will be installed in Sydney’s central business district.
Following New South Wales’ footsteps, another Australian city – Gold Coast, also plans on using the new technology. It is already being tested in Germany, in the cities of Cologne and Augsburg.
IMAGE SOURCE: mx3.ch