Due to the increasing number of people falling on the train tracks while using smartphones, some railway companies are asking passengers to refrain from using the devices while on the train platforms. A fifth-grade boy fell onto the tracks at the JR Yotsuya Station in Tokyo on Monday and suffered minor injuries. The Metropolitan Police Department said the boy was not paying attention because he was focused on his mobile phone.
The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry said that from data they’ve gathered, 11 people fell on the tracks due to mobile phone use in 2010, and it increased to 18 the next year. Even though it only accounts for .5 of falls in train stations, there are 35% with uncertain causes that might be attributed to it as well. There are also those who fell from platforms but pulled themselves up without reporting it to the authorities. In other words, there might be more to those figures based on what authorities have observed with regards to people’s smartphone habits in train stations.
“Smartphones are much riskier than ordinary mobile phones,” said Prof. Kazuhiro Kozuka, a traffic engineering expert at the Aichi University of Technology. He conducted an experiment that proves that there is a decrease in a person’s field of vision when using smart phones. He also said that people are more focused on their smartphones since it displays a larger amount of data than ordinary mobile phones.
The danger of using smartphones is not just limited to train station platforms. A survey by Katsumi Tokuda, a University of Tsukuba professor specializing in barrier-free environment studies showed that 61.2 percent of respondents say they frequently collide with people when using their mobile devices while walking.