You have heard of distracted driving, but did know that distracted walking is becoming a problem?
There are reports from Salzburg, Austria that the city is surrounding municipal lampposts with the equivalent of car airbags to prevent injuries to people walking into them. The culprit? People’s smartphones.
City officials are calling people who walk into lampposts, bumping their heads and bouncing into traffic “smartphone zombies.”
In another Austrian city, Augsburg, officials are placing traffic signals on the ground instead of overhead, for the same reason – so people don’t walk into intersections and get run over.
The move is as public relations-based as anything – a way of calling public attention to the injuries and deaths caused by people going about their business staring at their smartphone screens.
We are well aware that the same dangers face drivers and pedestrians in and around Winston-Salem.
We see cases where pedestrians are struck by vehicles, including bicycles, because their attention is somewhere else. Drivers with cellphones imagine they are only glancing at their screens for a moment. But in those few seconds, the traffic they are in can change drastically.
People are getting hit, cars and trucks are hitting stationary objects, and people are even dying from wounds sustained because drivers were more concerned about getting their email than whether you live or die.
At Combs & Lee, we work to protect the rights of people who are injured – or whose family members are killed – because of this epidemic of distraction.
Besides smartphones, drivers and pedestrians are distracted by reading, changing channels on the radio, unwrapping a sandwich, disciplining their kids, applying makeup.
Our parents didn’t raise us to be this way. “Keep your eyes on the road,” they said. “Watch where you are going at all times.”
Despite this excellent advice, people are being distracted by amazing technology and information – and they are causing others significant injuries.