Sydney, Australia, will soon deploy traffic lights at street level to save the lives of smartphone users too busy checking their feed while crossing the street.
The authorities in New South Wales are preparing a pilot program to ground level traffic lights, with further implementation possible in the future. The first phase will last for six months, during which five places from Sydney's business district will get ground-level embedded street lights. The cost of the action will reach AUS $250,000 (US $180,663).
Mashable reached out to Bernard Carlon, the Executive Director at Centre for Road Safety.
"We need to create a road system that keeps [pedestrians] safe, and this includes situations when they may not be paying attention," he notes.
Statistics show that pedestrian casualties are on the rise in Australia, and excessive smartphone use is partially responsible. A number of 61 pedestrians lost their lives in 2015 on New South Wales' roads, a surge of 49 percent compared to 2014's casualties.
Carlon mentions that street level lights should help pedestrians who are glued to their mobile screens to notice dangerous traffic situations.
The lights will act as an additional layer of warning, as they will complement the signals and lights already in place.
Australian authorities explain that the initiative is part of the Towards Zero advertising campaign, which aims to raise awareness about traffic risks for pedestrians.
Australia is not the first country to make use of extra warning signals.
The German town of Augsburg placed similar traffic lights at two stations within the town. The pedestrian safety measures were installed after a teenage girl lost her life earlier this year, as she crossed a railway crossing without checking.
The local authorities are considering expanding the use of ground level warning lights, should the pilot program prove successful in curbing the number of accidents.
To refer to the phenomenon easier, young people from Germany coined the term "smombie" to refer to users who are always focused on their phones instead of the outside world.
A DEKRA survey that took place in six European capitals determined that 17 percent of pedestrians keep their eyes fixed to the screens while walking down the street. When looking at the 25 to 35 demographic, the number reaches 25 percent.