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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

China unveils designated cellphone lane, spikes interest in cellphone related incidents

Designated cellphone lane in Chongqing, China
Designated cellphone lane in Chongqing, China

Back in April, Northeastern University released a satirical news article about creating texting-and-walking lanes for pedestrians oblivious to the world around them.

As the article begins, “It happens every day – people walk around, staring down at their smartphones as they text or sift through email or music. It can lead to awkward collisions with people – not to mention garbage cans, benches, and doors – and increase pedestrian traffic.”

Although the idea might seem a little silly to the writers at Northeastern, a city in China feels differently.

In Chongqing, a “phone lane” marked in white separates pedestrians distracted with their phones from those around them. And the idea isn’t totally out there either.

Ohio State University conducted research on the number of injuries in the United States resulting from distracted pedestrians. The numbers are increasing rapidly; in 2005, 256 ER-worthy injuries were recorded, with a jump to 1,506 by 2010.

Some parts of the United States have begun taking action in different ways. The Utah Transit Authority issues a $50 fine for anyone distracted by their phone near the trains, and injuries have decreased. Although Northeastern took the issue lightly, universities like Stanford put up warning posters on their campus.

Is it worth it to consider Northeastern’s joke a reality for the city of Boston?

Jon Benney, a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Boston, said, “I definitely could see how that’s a good idea. People are too oblivious to their surroundings when they walk and text.”

Justin Mcgrath, another UMass Boston student, feels differently.

“I mean as an idea it’s cool, but I honestly think it’s stupid. Like put down your goddamn phone and walk,” he said. “Texting isn’t important enough to have to stop walking like a normal person.”  

“Fuck yeah, that’s a terrible idea,” Sana Rashid, a Biology major at UMass Boston said. “If we give in to making a texting lane it looks ridiculous on our part, because we’re giving into something so foolish.”