Phone zom­bies wreak havoc

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

TOKYO: When the lights change at the Shibuya cross­ing in Ja­pan’s cap­i­tal, one of the world’s busiest pedes­trian thor­ough­fares, hun­dreds of peo­ple, their eyes glued to smart­phones, pick their way over the road.

De­spite be­ing en­grossed in Candy Crush, most man­age to weave around cy­clists, skate­board­ers and fel­low Toky­oites.

But the grow­ing ranks of th­ese cell­phone ad­dicts are mak­ing ci­ties like Tokyo, London, New York and Hong Kong in­creas­ingly hazardous, where zomb­i­fied shop­pers ap­pear to be part of vast games of hu­man pin­ball.

“Hey, watch it!” barks a salary­man as a hip­ster typ­ing on his smart­phone slams into him.

“In­ci­dents in­volv­ing peo­ple walk­ing or on bi­cy­cles ac­count for 41 per­cent of phonere­lated ac­ci­dents,” said Tet­suya Ya­mamoto, a se­nior of­fi­cial at Tokyo fire depart­ment.

“It goes beyond be­ing an in­nocu­ous in­con­ve­nience where both peo­ple apol­o­gise be­fore con­tin­u­ing on their merry way.”

Tokyo fire depart­ment, which runs the am­bu­lance ser­vice too, says in the four years to last year, 122 peo­ple had to be rushed to hos­pi­tal after ac­ci­dents caused by pedes­tri­ans us­ing cell­phones.

As well as the vaguely

Zomb­i­fied shop­pers ap­pear to be part of vast games of hu­man pin­ball

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