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Published on : Jun 03, 2016

While the increased global use of smartphones demonstrated the excellent appetite of the modern-day population for digitally advanced products, it also started worrying healthcare practitioners about the potential ill-effects of mobile phone radiations on living beings. 

Several research studies have uncovered worrisome effects that can be caused by the increased use of mobile phones or being in close proximity with mobile phones for longer durations. While this is definitely an area that needs more research to present the population with solid evidences, there is one more area concerning mobile phone that has regulators concerned. It is the issue of being constantly glued to the mobile phone screens, obsessively gawking at the phone, typing texts, or accessing something – even as one crosses a busy road. 

It has been observed lately that the number of people carelessly hooked on to their phones, even as they navigate through places that carry the risk of accident, such as busy roads and tram routes, is increasing at an alarming pace. This phenomenon, which has also been given a proper name, “smombie” – the combination of the words zombie and smartphone, is being increasingly associated with road accidents.

Concerned countries are taking some harsh and some innovative approaches at bringing down the numbers of accidents caused because of this phenomenon. One of the harsh measures taken to make people pay more attention on roads while they walk is the fine of US$50 imposed on-the-spot to a person who is found texting while walking.

An innovative measure is being taken by some countries to curb smombie accidents – ground level traffic lights. It has been reported that Australia has decided to set aside funds worth $250,000 to trial in-ground traffic lights at key crossings in Sydney. The special traffic lights blink and shine green when it is safe to cross roads. The lights are installed in the ground with a purpose that people who are busy looking at their smartphone screens are alarmed about the correct and incorrect timings of crossing roads without even having to look up. The pilot will hit off in December this year and if it helps in reducing pedestrian accidents, in-ground traffic lights will be installed at other places in the country as well.