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    Look Out! Sydney Plans Ground-Level Traffic Lights for Phone Addicts

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    In an attempt to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths in traffic accidents, the city of Sydney plans to install street-level traffic lights for pedestrians who can’t, or won’t, take their eyes off the screen of their handheld.

    Walking mindlessly down the street staring into a handheld device may be an inconvenience for those in your path, but it can get you killed.

    According to statistics, strollers all-too-commonly die in traffic accidents while texting. According to a report made by Ohio State University, provided by Washington-based Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), pedestrian deaths accounted for 11% of traffic accident fatalities in 2000, declining steadily for decades, but spiked to at least 15% since 2009.

    According to the study, 4,735 pedestrians were killed in 2013 — that's one death every two hours. And 3.5% of those died while walking and staring into a handheld device.

    A separate study at Stony Brook University found that people wander off their intended course 61% of the time while texting.

    The problem is particularly prevalent among teens who cross the street while texting or tweeting, ABC News reported. Nearly 40% of US teens have been hit, or narrowly avoided being hit, by a vehicle, and those who are hit, or nearly hit, tend to report higher rates of cell phone-related distraction than their peers.

    Sydney officials, in response to the ever-present dangers of walking while being inattentive, will implement street-level traffic lights to draw the attention of the distracted peds.

    The initiative will reportedly cost about $181,000, and includes installing street-level traffic lights in five different points around Sydney and testing the program for six months.

    As Bernard Carlon, Centre for Road Safety Executive Director, tells it, "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."

    A similar initiative is in place in the German city of Augsburg, near Munich, where ground-level lights have been installed at two train stations. The system is still being tested, and, if the results are positive, similar lights will be installed elsewhere in Augsburg.

    ​Russia has also implemented its version of the warning-light system, with two light "strips" installed in St. Petersburg and, reportedly, at least one in Moscow.

     

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    pedestrians, crossing lights, smartphone, Russia, Germany, Augsburg, Australia, Sydney
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