In Germany they call them “smombies” – or smartphone zombies – people who are so caught up in their device they roam the streets oblivious to other people, traffic or rogue lamp posts.
Now this particular breed of tech junkie has been given special traffic lights — installed into the pavements — to help them avoid oncoming traffic.
Officials in Augsburg in the Bavaria region have built lights into the pavement at two tram stops in the city, The Local reports, which flash red when a tram is approaching or the normal lights turn red.
They’re designed to catch the eye of anyone craning their neck to get through that last Candy Crush level before they board and alert them when a relatively quiet trains approaching.
Tobias Harms from the city’s council told reporters:
“We realised 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.”
Several pedestrians are said to have been hit by the trains while looking at their phones recently, and a 15-year-old was reportedly hit and killed after being distracted by her device in Munich in March.