*Have you ever caught yourself glued to your smartphone while you’re walking down the street, or into a store?
One of my kids recently told me that I need to learn how to walk and text at the same time. “You’d get more done,” she advised.
I passed on the lesson, but later learned that pedestrian injuries and deaths are up in recent years, and some have attributed that rise to the increased use of smartphones.
Well, a Dutch town has come up with a innovation solution to curb the behavior of these “cell phone zombies”: installing LED lights in the pavement to catch pedestrians’ attention and let them know it’s safe to cross the street.
Now, this is where my past behavior deviates from these folks. I’ve glanced at my phone, looked at a text or pulled up a shopping list or something. But I’m never so engaged with my iPhone that I risk walking out into traffic, like they’re doing in the town of Bodegraven, in central Holland.
To correct the problem, town officials have launched a trial with the installation of LED strips in the pavement at an intersection near schools. The strips shine green when it is safe to cross, red when pedestrians should stay put, and flash on and off just before the lights change.
“The attraction social media, games, WhatsAPP and music is great and comes at the expense of attention to traffic,” Dutch councillor Kees Oskam said.
And it’s not just the Dutch who’ve taken a rather extreme step to protect cell phone zombies. Last year, a city in Germany installed flashing lights next to crosswalks to alert cell phone users, and a city in China recently created two-lane sidewalks, with a separate late for folks who want to walk while glued to their mobile devices.
I’m going to go ahead and say it: Cray. Zee. Ass. Walking and using your cell phone is like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time. You can’t do both well. Put your phone away while you’re walking, and save a life: yours.