German city puts traffic lights on pavements for smartphone users

27/04/16

Traffic crossing with red lights in the pavement

A German city has put traffic lights on pavements so smartphone users don't have to look up from their screens.

Officials in Augsburg were worried pedestrians were so addicted to their mobiles, they weren't paying attention to their surroundings.

The lights, which are red like typical stop signals, mean even when people are looking down, they will still see when it is not safe to walk.

The death of a 15-year-old prompted the trial, local media reports.

She had been hit by a tram while distracted by her phone as she crossed the tracks, police said.

Hand holding smartphone in front of tracks and red lights

Town planners took into account where people who frequently used smartphones, such as young people and commuters, were likely to be walking, said city spokesperson Stephanie Lerman.

They then placed the lights appropriately, she added.

Those who walk while using their phones have been christened smombies - as in smartphone and zombie.

The word is especially popular in Germany, where it was declared youth word of the year in 2015.

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