As incredible as the functions of a smartphone are, enabling people to access the entire collective knowledge of our civilization and keeping in contact with anyone instantly, there are some drawbacks to the technology when we get too absorbed it. Some situations like using a smartphone on a crowded street can pose dangers to other not just to yourself.
In order to prevent similar situations, like when people too absorbed by their phone forget to check the traffic when crossing the street, a town in Netherlands has installed a LED crosswalk in sidewalks near intersections, in order to alert them whether it is safe or not to cross the street.
This is the first trial for the LED crosswalk, which was developed by a local company called HIG Traffic System. The LED device is connected to the nearby traffic light system and it’s able to shift colors, from red to green, as a way to signal the distracted pedestrians on when it is safe to cross the street.
The LED crosswalk installed in Bodegranve has been dubbed “+Lightline”, and face some opposition from the country’s VVN organization for road safety. A spokesperson for VVN describes the system as a reward for those engaging in unsafe behavior.
However, the National Safety Council has reported that incidents involving pedestrians distracted by their phones led to more than 11,000 injuries in just the United States alone, between 2000 and 2011. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has estimated the number of injuries doubled by 2004, and that while most people are aware of the dangers posed by this behavior, they continue as they overestimate their capacity to multitask.
Therefore, in the absence of any meaningful programs meant to change the behavior of pedestrians, systems like the LED crosswalk may be the only way to prevent a further increase in accidents. An AAOS study found that people with ages between 18 to 34 were least likely to suffer injuries from this type of behavior, and that texting and walking is what compromises our abilities the most.
What do you think about the LED crosswalk? Do you use your smartphone often while walking or crossing the street?
Image source: Flickr
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