Radical solutions needed to tackle 'phone zombie' problem

Technology has disrupted many aspects of our lives so much so that some people cannot contemplate the idea of not using their phones.
Technology has disrupted many aspects of our lives so much so that some people cannot contemplate the idea of not using their phones. ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

The increasing number of people who continue to look at their phones while crossing the road, or "smartphone zombies", is clearly of concern and something needs to be done before things get out of hand (Many still on the phone, even when crossing the road, April 16).

As if the recent video of a taxi hitting a woman is not bad enough, some of these smartphone zombies are even claiming that they are alert enough to be able to cross the road safely while their eyes are glued to their phones.

These avoidable acts of getting severely injured or even death are simply not worth the risk.

There are currently no laws on this, and more needs to be done to tackle this problem.

Fines and blanket bans, as suggested by Mr Cheng Choon Fei, alone are not enough (Fine pedestrians who use phones while crossing roads, April 10).

There will always be people who do not hesitate to flout such rules because they think that the benefits of using their phones outweigh the cost of paying the fine.

A more diverse and multi-pronged approach is needed.

More public education to encourage people not to take this risk, incentives to reward people, and extending the duration of the green man at pedestrian crossings are some examples that should be considered.

The Government should also consider China's example in building "text-walking lanes" to help tackle this issue.

Technology has disrupted many aspects of our lives so much so that some people cannot contemplate the idea of not using their phones.

However, technology can also be properly utilised to help control the number of smartphone zombies.

Samuel Tey

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2019, with the headline 'Radical solutions needed to tackle 'phone zombie' problem'. Print Edition | Subscribe