If it wasn’t for the potential for damage to innocent vehicles and for unnecessary trauma being inflicted on folks acting like properly adjusted human beings are supposed to act in the world, I’d say to hell with these morons and their stupid phones, who cares if they die? But since both of those things are real possibilities, I’ll grudgingly admit that maybe this isn’t the worst idea.
The city of Augsburg has decided it’s time to act, and has installed ground level traffic lights to warn people who are looking down at their screens that a tram is approaching.
The lights have been in operation at two tram stops in the city since Tuesday and flash red when a tram is approaching or when the normal traffic light turns red.
Tobias Harms for the city administration told The Augsburger Allgemeine (AA) that “we realized that the normal traffic light isn’t in the line of sight of many pedestrians these days. So we decided to have an additional set of lights – the more we have, the more people are likely to notice them.”
To their credit, city officials didn’t act just because something *might* happen. They were kind enough to let natural selection try to make its point first.
In March, a 15-year-old girl in Munich was run over by a tram while looking at her smartphone with headphones in. She was dragged along by the train and died, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.
In nearby Augsburg, meanwhile, on two recent occasions pedestrians have been hit by the quiet electric street trains while looking at their phones, but both luckily came away with only light injuries.
I enjoy technology as much as anyone, But if you can’t even look up from your phone long enough to cross a street or walk down the sidewalk, you really should think about checking yourself into some sort of program.