Two German cities have recently installed traffic lights on the ground as a means to prevent pedestrian accidents. With pedestrian accident rates rising in Jacksonville and across the country, some officials have brought up the idea of implementing a similar idea in local city streets.
The German cities, Augsburg and Cologne, were concerned enough about people being glued to their phones while crossing the street that they installed traffic lights that face up at pedestrians from the curb. People who are looking down at their devices would find it hard to miss the presence of red or green lights glaring back up at them.
Although the lights are rather expensive at approximately $11,300 each, so far German officials believe they have been worth the investment. But are they a realistic option for American cities?
Rising pedestrian accident numbers
Whether or not these lights are ever implemented in the United States, there is a clear need to take some steps to curb the rising number of pedestrian accidents nationwide. According to a 2013 study conducted at Ohio State University, the number of people who were injured while walking and using their phones more than doubled from 2005 to 2010. More than 1,500 people were sent to the emergency room in 2010 after walking across the street while looking at their phones.
This drastic increase has a clear correlation with the boom in smartphone use. These devices have become more than just a means of communication, with their social media access, games, cameras, e-readers and more.
Unfortunately, simply telling people to stop looking at their phones while crossing the street does not seem to have been an effective tactic. So will cities start to look into alternative methods such as in-ground traffic lights for pedestrians? Only time will tell.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, reach out to the experienced Jacksonville personal injury attorneys with Combs Greene, PA.
Attorney Mark Link contributed to this blog post.