South Korea has street lights on the floor in Seoul to help ‘smombies’ cross the road safely

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South Korea has street lights on the GROUND so you can keep staring at your phone while waiting for traffic to stop – so is it a genius idea or a shameful invention for a dangerous addiction?

  • TikTok footage has emerged of in-ground LED traffic crossing lights in Seoul
  • The South Korean government implemented the lights to keep ‘smombies’ safe
  • ‘Smombies’ are people on their smartphones walking in the city like ‘zombies’


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South Korea has come up with a bizarre invention which allows its residents to keep staring at their phone while crossing the road as safely as possible but not everyone is sold on the idea.

TikTok footage emerged on October 11 of an intersection in Seoul that shows curbs lit up with green and red lights, indicating when it’s safe to cross the road even if you’re looking down at your phone screen.

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The video posted by user naturalkorean shows groups of people in the nation’s capital coined ‘smombies’ – or ‘smartphone-obsessed zombies’ – crossing a busy road without even looking up from their hands.

The ‘in-ground LED traffic signal lights’ were installed in Seoul in 2019 as a trial but the city has clearly adopted them even since.

In March 2019 the South Korean government also implemented an alert system which sends a notification to phones if walkers are about to step into traffic.

‘Increasing number of smombie accidents have occurred in pedestrian crossings, so these zombie lights are essential to prevent these pedestrian accidents,’ Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology senior researcher Kim Jong-hoon told E&T.

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In South Korea's capital city, Seoul, LED ground lights are used for people glued to their smartphones, telling them when to cross roads (pictured)

In South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, LED ground lights are used for people glued to their smartphones, telling them when to cross roads (pictured)

‘South Korea has streetlights on the floor so you can keep staring on your phone,’ the latest TikTok video was captioned.

The strange invention has divided the internet, with some arguing it is a great idea while others claim the it’s just encouraging a phone addiction.

‘I can’t believe some people care about their devices more than their life,’ one user wrote on the app.

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‘This is a way of the government normalising walking while on your phone? This is not okay at all,’ another wrote.

The invention was introduced in 2019, and has since seen 'smombies' be able to stay on their smartphones (pictured, the crossing lights)

The invention was introduced in 2019, and has since seen ‘smombies’ be able to stay on their smartphones (pictured, the crossing lights)

‘That’ll actually look cool at night,’ one user added.

‘This is how society should work. Adapt to the people without judging,’ another wrote. 

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In 2020, Seoul saw a significant decrease in the amount of fatalities caused by traffic accidents, which reduced from 247 deaths in 2019 to 218 in 2020.

According to Korea Herald, pedestrians accounted for 115 of the deaths in 2020, over half the total.

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