With the number of people getting into accidents like falling off train platforms or bumping into people due to too much concentration on their smartphones, this “phenomena” has even gotten a name: Aruki Sumaho, or smartphone walking. But it’s gotten to the point that mobile companies and railway operators now have to come up with safety campaigns to remind people to be more careful and pay more attention.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, there were eleven reported incidents of people falling off train platforms in 2010, and the numbers rose to 18 in 2011. But those are just the ones reported and does not include those who fell from platforms but pulled themselves up without reporting it to the authorities (which happens more often than you imagine). University of Tsukuba professor Katsumi Tokuda conducted a survey among commuting university students from Tokyo and Osaka and found that more than 60% of them had been bumped into or almost bumped into by people who were smartphone walking.
East Japan Railway Co. had an announcement campaign in June and July telling people to stand still while on the platform, especially if they’re using their mobile phones. Tokyo Metro also ran a campaign through train announcements and posters telling passengers it’s “dangerous to walk while using smartphones”. Japan’s biggest mobile network NTT DoCoMo came up with a campaign in Tokyo’s Shinjuku station, with a sign on a staircase that read, “Walking while using a smartphone is dangerous… But those people probably didn’t see this announcement.” Just last month, Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward held a meeting between the police, railroad companies and telecommunications companies to discuss the problem and offer solutions. There are some who are already calling for a ban on using smartphones while walking, but fat chance that’s going to get approved in one of the most smartphone-savvy countries in the world.
[ via BBC News ]