How Prague 14 Is Trying to Tackle “Smartphone Zombies”

prague 14 warning signs

You see them all over city streets: pedestrians wearing headphones or earbuds — their faces glued to their phones as they stroll along oblivious to their surroundings.

Known as twalking, the behavior is not without its dangers. Headphone-wearing pedestrians often can’t hear the auditory cues — horns, shouts, or the sound of approaching cars — that signal imminent harm.

The City Hall of Prague 14 decided to paint in white two different warning signs (a crossed-out mobile phone and headphones) on the ground in front of Rajská zahrada metro station and at the Lehovec tram turnaround.

The City Hall is planning to mark other crossings in the district with other warning signs. Citizens can turn to the municipality with different suggestions.

“We are still at the beginning of this project. We will be happy if the citizens will help us and we welcome every suggestion,” said  Deputy Mayor Hukal.

The drop in road fatalities in the Czech Republic during 2020 was of particular note, falling to the lowest levels since these statistics were first collected in 1961.

There were 460 road deaths in the country in 2020, a reduction of 87%. Meanwhile, serious injuries from road crashes also dropped to 1,807 for 2020, compared with 2,110 in 2019.

Overall, there were 94,794 road crashes in the Czech Republic in 2020, a reduction of 12% compared with the figure for 2019.

In the meantime, Apple has invented a bizarre new system that could help so-called “smartphone zombies” navigate without ever needing to look away from their phone.

The iPhone maker has patented new earphones that would “tap” the inside of your ear canals to get your attention, directing you to move left or right depending on which ear receives the sensation.

The patent, granted in the US, describes unorthodox devices that use small amounts of vibration to create tapping sensations inside people’s ears.

Adding the feature to Apple’s upcoming headphones could help to solve the problem of people so addicted to their phones that they fail to look up and leave themselves vulnerable to accidents or thefts.

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