May 31, 2013

    More fall on rail tracks in Japan while using phone

    MIND your step and refrain from using smartphones.

    Japanese railway companies are asking people to avoid using smartphones while walking, in the light of an increasing number of smartphone-related accidents at train platforms.

    It is common to see people walking with their eyes glued to their smartphone screens.

    On Monday, a fifth-grade schoolboy fell onto the tracks at a station in Tokyo because he was reportedly using his mobile phone while walking.

    The accident prompted the transport ministry and railway companies to urge the public to refrain from using mobile devices on platforms.

    According to the Metropolitan Police Department, the boy fell onto the tracks just as a train was pulling into the station. An emergency brake was activated and the boy was able to escape into the gap under the platform. He was slightly injured.

    A total of 11 people fell onto train tracks due to mobile-phone use in fiscal 2010, and this rose to 18 the following year, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry.

    Aichi University of Technology's Professor Kazuhiro Kozuka, a traffic-engineering expert, conducted an experiment to track a person's eye movements when playing a game or tweeting on a smartphone while walking.

    The study's findings revealed that ambulatory smartphone users' horizontal field of vision was reduced to one third of what it normally is.