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  • Authorities in Austrian city say phone users are increasingly walking into objects
  • Tourists accused of not looking where they are going while looking at devices
  • Civic chiefs putting airbags around lampposts to protect 'smartphone zombies'

Lampposts are being covered in airbags to stop so-called 'smartphone zombies' bumping into them as they walk around staring at their screens in an Austrian city.

Salzburg authorities say tourists are increasingly hurting themselves by not looking where they are going while checking their devices.

Locals have described mobile phone users as Smombies, the short form for a 'smartphone zombie', and civic chiefs are taking action to stop them getting injured.

Lampposts are being covered in airbags to stop so-called 'smartphone zombies' bumping into them as they walk around staring at their screens in the Austrian city of Salzburg

Lampposts are being covered in airbags to stop so-called 'smartphone zombies' bumping into them as they walk around staring at their screens in the Austrian city of Salzburg

Salzburg authorities say tourists are increasingly hurting themselves by not looking where they are going and accidentally walking into objects

Salzburg authorities say tourists are increasingly hurting themselves by not looking where they are going and accidentally walking into objects

They believe that putting airbags on lampposts is a way of highlighting the need for people to be more careful when using their devices.

The action follows a warning from a local board which promotes safety in public and private life known as the Board for Traffic Safety (KFV).  

KFV expert Martin Pfanner said: 'We are of the opinion that when people see this very public warning in the form of lamppost airbags of the dangers of not paying attention, they will change their behaviour.'

Local media interviewed phone users who said the airbags reminded them to take more care.

Pfanner said pedestrians were now involved in more accidents in the city than anyone else on the city streets - including cyclists, moped drivers and car drivers.

He said 40 per cent of the injured pedestrians were hurt because they were distracted at the time of the collision.

Locals have described mobile phone users as Smombies, the short form for a 'smartphone zombie' and civic chiefs are taking action to stop them getting injured

Locals have described mobile phone users as Smombies, the short form for a 'smartphone zombie' and civic chiefs are taking action to stop them getting injured

The Salzburg initiative follows on from similar initiatives around the world.

In China, there are special sections of certain pavements that are reserved for people using telephones and walking at the same time.

In Honolulu anyone crossing the road and looking at their phone will be fined.

In the German city of Augsburg they have started putting traffic lights on the ground where they can be more easily seen by people staring at smartphones.

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