updated 06:30 pm EDT, Sun May 4, 2014
Injuries increase 50 percent in 2013 from 2010, 122 incidents over four years
Yahoo Japan reports that the number of smartphone-related injuries while riding a bike or walking has increased, according to the Tokyo Fire Department. In the Tokyo metropolitan area, 36 people were injured in 2013 from smartphone-related accidents, an increase of 50 percent over the 23 reported cases in 2010.
The report, as translated by Rocketnews, says that 26 of the incidents were related to people using or looking at the screens on their phones -- only five accidents occurred while the user was speaking using their devices. Over the course of four years (2010 to 2013), there were 122 accidents where inattentiveness due to using a cell phone or smartphone was the suspected cause.
The most common age groups involved in these accidents were those in their 20s and 40s. Mild injuries were sustained in approximately 80 percent of the cases, requiring ambulance transport -- with at least one case that involved a train-related death.
Train stations stand out as a common area for such incidents to occur, in spite of various warning signs attempting to inform cell phone users the danger of not paying attention. These signs and safety posters can be wall-sized displays, small posters or might take a clever approach such as steps painted with a message, in hopes people looking down will notice them. Companies are also taking steps to educate employees of the dangers.
The Tokyo Fire Department sees the rise in accidents as a major problem as smartphone use grows in Japan, causing the agency to issue a warning on the situation. The warning says that paying attention to the phone instead of watching where one is going "is very dangerous, as not only is there the danger of harming yourself, but also of involving surrounding people in an accident."