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Smartphone 101: Look at the Traffic, Not your Dumb Phone


Sometimes I wish that they build a smartphone app that will cause it not to work when one is walking or driving or having a meal with friends or when waiting for the lift – the smartphone distraction can be lethal! Image source:

It was one fine morning after I had clocked in at the office; I decided to go down to have breakfast. Half way through, the lift stopped – someone must be taking the lift as well. The door of the lift opened and I saw one guy standing right in front of the lift busy looking at his phone. yet he did not come in.

Since he did not come and too busy looking at the phone, I assumed he is not entering the lift. I pressed the close door button and as the door was closing, he suddenly put his hand in and stopped the door from closing. He walked in casually, eyes still focussed on the phone and not bothered to see if anyone else in the lift.

And when the lift reached the designated floor, they will remain in the lift not realised that they have reached their floor. They are too engrossed with their phone. I know they have reached their floor but I keep quiet, playing dumb until the lift door closes and moves on to the next floor. The expression on their faces when they noticed they missed their floor is simply priceless.

Unfortunately this is not the first time I encountered someone distracted on the phone. This person will be busy with the phone, not concerned of the other people wanting to come into the lift. This is still safe as I have see pedestrians too busy on their phones to take note of the traffic passing them.

It is said that driving while texting causes 1.6 million car accidents in the US every year whilst 14% of all fatal crashes in the US involved the use of a cell phone (Source). Equally there are morons who can cause accidents whilst texting or watching YouTube on their smartphones even without driving a car –  they are called dumb pedestrians.

Out of which, foreign factory workers are the worst because they care less on traffic rules and the right of way. They can even walk on the main road with a smartphone in their hand and insist the traffic to stop for them.

I lost count of the times I came close to knocking some pedestrians down just because they are not paying attention to their surroundings. They will walk directly on the path of the main traffic (and sometimes on the path of other pedestrians).

The world is moving on a pace where smartphones is taking too much of attention but as humans, we should know the limits. It is fine if you are at home, relaxing in the living hall and you are watching something on the phone. But it is a different story when you are outside. If the law says that you cannot drive whilst using the phone, then it should apply the same for pedestrians.

It is so rampant and dangerous that the local authorities in China and surprisingly Germany have to come up with special lights for the “dumbest smartphone” users (weird combination used in the same sentence!!).

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Seriously this is really stupid – special lights for smartphone users in China

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And if you think that the Germans are the smartest ones around, well think again – this is in Germany for dumb smartphone users.

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But interesting, the French proved that they are more elegant (and smarter) with Virtual Crash Billboard which need to be implemented in Malaysia too – capture the surprised look on the face and then “publish” it on a large billboard. Some people need to be shamed before they realise how dumb they have been and be more careful the next time around.

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In Malaysia, in addition to pedestrians who are not attentive to the traffic and cross the road without looking, such Virtual Crash Billboard would be effective to some extent. We also have drivers who beat the red light – the biggest culprit would be motorcyclists. We need both Virtual Crash Billboard, traffic camera and strict enforcement (say a penalty of RM300 for crossing when it is not allowed) to ensure compliance of the rules in Malaysia.

Who knows, maybe it may knock some sense to some of these smartphone users…

2 thoughts on “Smartphone 101: Look at the Traffic, Not your Dumb Phone”

  1. Then you must see the traffic in India, sometimes there are more people using the road to walk than the cars to run. They don’t care about the vehicles passing them. It is just the world will stop for them when they are on road.

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