German City Installs In-Ground Crosswalk Signals For Texters

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Civic leaders in Augsburg, Germany are taking a stand against those who text-while-walking on sidewalks, in an effort to prevent pedestrians from walking into the street while there is oncoming traffic. To decrease the alarming number of accidents caused by pedestrians not looking up at traffic signals at intersections, crosswalk signals were installed into the sidewalks themselves. 

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Thanks to this new system,“Petexrians” or “smombies” are able to walk safely while texting, and would still have a chance to stop themselves before they walk out into a busy street. The new signals are a part of a pilot program which is being tested in areas where young people are a large part of the population. 

In 2015, the Governors Highway Safety Association released a report which showed an increase in pedestrian deaths in 40 years. To no one’s surprise, cell phones were the biggest culprit for the increase. Less than 1% of pedestrian deaths were caused by cell phones in 2004, but this number rose to 4% by 2010. And, since 2005, the amount of pedestrians injured while using their cell phone has doubled. In 2013, a pedestrian was dying every two hours in the United States. 

In an interview with N-TV, Augsburg spokeswoman Stephanie Lermen said that safety measures such as traffic signals for both vehicles and pedestrians need to adapt to this era. “[The Signals] create a whole new level of attention,” Lermen said. 

While the United States has not adopted in-ground crosswalk signals, they may not be far off. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of Americans now own a smartphone and that number will only continue to rise. With the increase in phones, there is sure to be an increase in pedestrian collisions at crosswalks.

It is never a good idea to walk and text for a long period of time. It can become especially dangerous when a pedestrian has their head down for an extended period of time, when walking around busy sidewalks and streets. 

Nobody wants to end up like Bonnie Miller, a Benton Harbor resident, who was enjoying a nice stroll on Lake Michigan with her husband and son. She received a text message, read it, and began to reply. Miller told ABC News that she typed three words, tripped because she wasn't paying attention to where she was walking, and then fell into Lake Michigan. Luckily she wasn't hurt, but she was surely embarrassed. 

Drivers should always keep a look out when going through intersections for pedestrians entering the crosswalk whether they are supposed to be there or not. Pedestrians should always remember to make sure cars are coming to complete stops before going through a crosswalk. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident involving a pedestrian, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are knowledgeable on all rights belonging to pedestrians and will represent you to make sure you get the necessary help. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.