Smartphone zombies are becoming a greater danger to themselves and to save the lives of those who cannot take their eyes off their screens while crossing roads, the New South Wales government is planning to trail ground level traffic lights in Sydney, Australia.
The trial of the traffic lights cost A$250,000 (£125, 869) and would launch in December. It would be initially implemented for six months in five places in Sydney's central business district.
Bernard Carlon, executive director at the Centre for Road Safety told Mashable, "Pedestrians are less protected in a road crash, and are therefore more likely to be seriously injured or killed. This is why we need to create a road system that keeps them safe, and this includes situations when they may not be paying attention."
Australia is not the first country to come up with the idea. In April, the ground level traffic lights were installed in Augsburg, Germany to warn people who are looking at their smartphone screens about trams passing nearby. Tobias Harms from the city's council said, "We realised that the normal traffic light isn't in the line of sight of many pedestrians these days. So we decided to have an additional set of lights - the more we have, the more people are likely to notice them."
The latest move by the New South Wales government is part of the Towards Zero advertising campaign aimed at emphasizing the impact of crashes and fatal road accidents. In 2015, a total of 61 pedestrians were killed on New South Wales roads, which increased by 49% as compared to the accidents that took place in 2014.
"The lights are aimed at pedestrians using mobile phones who are not looking where they are walking. They will serve as another layer of warning on top of existing lights and signals," added Carlon.