A City Put Traffic Lights in the Ground Because Nobody Would Look Up From Their Phones

A City Put Traffic Lights in the Ground Because Nobody Would Look Up From Their Phones
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

In an effort to fight natural selection, a city in Germany is embedding traffic lights onto the pavement so that pedestrians on their phones won't walk into oncoming traffic. God bless the human race.

The city of Augsburg installed red traffic lights into the ground so that people absorbed in their smartphones would have an indicator as to when it's not safe to keep walking, BBC reported. 

The decision was made in response to a tragic accident. A 15-year-old girl died after being struck by a tram — she didn't see the red light go on indicating the oncoming tram because she was looking at her smartphone, N-TV reported. 

These lights are reportedly a pilot project to address the "smombie" issue — "smombie" is the portmanteau for smartphone zombie, according to the Local, and was voted the "hippest" German word in 2015. 

Source: Ben Margot/AP

What's not hip is walking into traffic because you are refreshing your Instagram feed — but a lot of us are guilty of such iFoolishness. According to the National Safety Council, 11,000 people have been injured due to distracted walking since 2000, PIX11 reported. 

And while Germany is remodeling urban infrastructure for the smombies, some states want to ban the hopeless head-craning habit altogether. State lawmakers in Hawaii are trying to pass a bill "which would prohibit pedestrians from crossing a street, road or highway while using an electronic mobile device," KHON 2 reported. 

So if you do plan on staring at the ground while you mosey through bustling roads, might you consider investing in this urban periscope? That Instagram photo is not worth a trip to the hospital. 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Melanie Ehrenkranz

Melanie is a writer covering technology and the future. She can be reached at melanie@mic.com.

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