German city installs ground traffic lights for distracted phone users

Texting or otherwise using your smartphone while walking can be hazardous to your health — more than a few people have accidentally fallen down holes, stepped in front of cars, and more, all while staring down at the small screen in their hand while walking. The German city of Augsburg is looking to change that by installing traffic lights in the sidewalk, hoping to catch the eye of someone who is staring down at their phone while walking.

Whether the lights will work is yet to be seen, as they're a relatively new addition, and one that has a limited audience — just people who are staring down, but hopefully not so intently that they miss the ground lights, too. Still yet, some have criticized the lights as being a general waste of money, saying that they'll too be ignored by those who can't bother to pay attention to their surroundings.

Still, the issue of missed traffic lights and general pedestrian cluelessness isn't one that can be ignored — instances of people using phones while crossing roads and at crosswalks is high, and more than a few deaths have resulted from distracted phone usage. In some cases, cities have simply banned the use of smartphones in certain dangerous places — others like New Jersey have considered bills that will make it illegal to use your phone while walking.

How many places in Augsburg have been equipped with such traffic lights is unclear; no doubt, though, there are some other places watching the numbers to see whether the lights do any good, and we may see more of them elsewhere in the future.

VIA: Washington Post