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Lampposts fitted with airbags to protect 'smartphone zombies'

Lampposts in Salzburg have been fitted with airbags to stop "smartphone zombies" from bumping into them.

Officials in the Austrian city are worried that people could injure themselves by walking into the permanent fixtures after research carried out locally revealed one in five pedestrians are at risk of being distracted by their phone.

The Board for Traffic Safety (KFV) have advised the local council to do something to aid the locals, prompting them to put the airbags up.

Martin Pfanner, KFV expert, said: "We are of the opinion that when people see this very public warning in the form of lamppost airbags of the dangers of not paying attention, they will change their behaviour."

The public were asked what they thought about this idea and most said it encouraged them to put their phone away and kept them focused on where they were meant to be going.

Pfanner revealed that more pedestrians are involved in accidents now compared to those in cars, on motorbikes or on bicycles. And 40 percent of the pedestrians that were injured were also found to be distracted at the time of the incident.

It is not the first initiative to help smartphone users stay safe. In China, they fenced off a special lane on the pavement for those using their phones and walking at the same time whilst people will find themselves with an instant fine if they are seen crossing the road and looking at their device in Honolulu. In Augsburg, Germany, traffic lights have been installed on the ground so those using smartphones are able to see the lights better.

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