I see it literally hundreds of times a day. People are driving their cars at over 70mph while texting. They use instagram and facebook at stoplights. They text or call while driving too fast down residential roads. They cause traffic delays because they don't accelerate at a green light for many seconds after the car in front of them has.
I have seen them hit other cars and narrowly miss pedestrians in crosswalks, completely oblivious half the time that they nearly murdered someone.
If I pull up next to them and tell them to put their phone down by pantomime, half the time they flip me off, laugh, or lay on their horn. They do not think they are doing anything wrong and that I am the asshole for telling them to put the phone down.
Distracted drivers are murderers. Distracted drivers are guilty of reckless endangerment. Distracted drivers need to be punished with prejudice. It is statistically more dangerous than driving intoxicated.
As a keen road cyclist in the UK I actually have bought an off-road bike because I simply don't trust US drivers.
In fact, the standard of driving here is frankly appalling. Tailgating and speeding is rampant. Lane surfing is rife. Couple that with just generally less safety street furniture at intersections and the laughably easy driving tests it's frightening really.
People say self driving cars are a danger, frequently the media report every Autopilot crash but what about the hundreds every day caused by some idiot texting? IMHO the sooner we take the distracted meatbag out of the driving equation, the better. I'm a car guy who just did a 2000 mile roadtrip to the Tail of the Dragon but this has to stop.
More enforcement and stricter penalties. Social stigma might be more powerful than this though.
Yes it’s pretty common, I see phones in driver’s hands about 25-40% in my local area.
A better voice input so I don’t have to type.
The biggest distraction is a notification comes and you want to see what it is.
But you are right. The best soln is not to use your phone.
To help you put it in perspective though, simply ask yourself if you'll stop caring about the notifications the day after running into a pedestrian or a cyclist.
To be honest, I want a self lane following car. Reliably keep distance from car in front, keep the current lane, don’t exceed speed limit. Don’t bumps into objects, stop on traffic lights
5 simple things. I feel like this should be doable reliably in the next decade.
I don’t want to drive. I don’t have another more convenient option.
Social stigma is great; but I write to my state and federal representatives every quarter of the year about this specific issue. I want distracted driving to be treated as an equal offense to driving drunk.
At the very least, real enforcement and stiffer fines need to happen in order for any changes to take place.
I think it's actually really quite dangerous to have cars passing you on both sides when you're already going 5 over to "fit in". It'd be much better if like in Europe people pulled out to overtake and back in when done and that lane surfers had a little a patience now and again. A few seconds really does not matter. Especially when you overtake them 5 mins later as they're texting anyway!!
Lane surfing happens in the US because people here don't understand how to drive on freeways. It is non-existent in Germany because drivers there know how to drive.
I used to live in Seattle, a perfect example of a city that has enough freeway but still has traffic jams because people drive cluelessly. Not just my opinion, but the opinion of traffic enforcement in Washington.
And people on their phones while driving just make the situation worse.
On the other hand, some cities (such as LA) have off-ramps on both the left and right sides, not to mention many multi-lane freeway interchanges located on both sides... combined with Google Maps telling you at the last minute that you need to be in the left 3 lanes, followed by immediately being in the right-most lane in order to get on the right freeway. Almost every visit to LA requires 1 or 2 retries on a few of these freeways. When I'm not constrained for time, I often opt for much slower side streets to avoid the utter insanity of some interchanges.
I believe it varies state to state.
Agree that the US test is laughably easy to pass compared to the UK, though.
It wouldn't be possible to undertake if folks had proper lane discipline in the first place, although the UK also has it's fair share of Middle Lane Morons
I've heard speak of 'the orbit game' - legally pass the MLM on the left, then pull across into the right lane, slow down so they pass you, then pull into the right lane and pass them again, see how many times you can 'orbit' them
No ticket though. They probably use it as an excuse to pull people over to try and ding them for other stuff
Now, the worst part: about a month ago I got pulled over for texting and driving. I wasn't even thinking about it. The cop said, "were you texting?" And I said, "I don't think so, let me check"... pulled up my phone.. yeah a half-written text to a friend. I got a ticket and have kept my phone in my pocket since then.
Something funny happens. I would think, "ah I'll just check that message, maybe it's important?" Or, "I've got to tell someone something" and out comes the phone. Mindless. Or maybe I think I can drive and text, it's those other clowns that are the dangerous ones. I'm glad I got the ticket. I deserved it. I think it helped me connect my actions to real life consequences. Glad it was just a ticket and not a wreck.
Sometimes I'll get so fed up with people that, at a stoplight, I'll actually get off my bike and knock on their windows and tell them to put the phone down. All black visor and gear makes one intimidating enough for them to stop for a few hundred yards. Better than nothing, I suppose.
I used to be on a white R1200RS and I'd get mistaken for CHP in California. It was amusing to see them try to hide their phones when I'd honk at them.
A lot less amusing when they'd wander into my lane, oblivious. Every single close call I've had in the last year of riding has been from a motorist operating a cell phone.
I'm nearly of a mind to roll a helmet cam and start a Twitter account with footage of these people, along with their plates and a CHP tag. I haven't done it yet because that would take my riding focus away from steering the safest path. But it seems like it's gotten worse lately, and there doesn't seem to be much enforcement.
The helmet cam also has been quite useful for "post-mortems" of close calls. I can replay the video and think about what I should have done differently.
I would love it if you started that account, but safety first. I'm about to splurge on a helmet cam, myself.
It __does__ seem to have gotten worse lately. The only cops I've ever seen enforce it are... you guessed it, motorcycle cops. Cops in cruisers don't do shit in my area.
Even if you’re hammered enough to have 5% of your normal driving ability, not looking at the road at all is a straight 0% driving ability. It’s essentially driving with your eyes closed every time you look down.
It might cause more deaths/accidents, but how many more people are driving distracted compared to driving intoxicated?
Until we change the incentives, distracted driving is very likely to remain a problem. Right now there's a lot of talk but very little action. I live in Austin, and I've spoken with the police about distracted driving after nearly being hit by a driver who ran a red light because they were distracted by their phone. (I spoke with them afterward.) The police tell me that they periodically do distracted driving enforcement operations, but only in school zones so that they get double fines. I've never seen a single distracted driving enforcement operation in Austin, but I've gone through cyclist stop sign enforcement twice. It would be interesting to see the statistics here. How many people are ticketed for distracted driving every year?
But yes, fuck people using their phones while driving. It happens every single day, every third car sometimes.
I was hit 3 times last year. Pretty sure at 2 of the times it was due to distracted driving and the 3rd due to the asshole being an impatient and rude prick trying to skip the line and jump in. When I was read ended, the woman that hit me rolled into me at a red light. We had been sitting there for a minute or so, stopped and just as the light was about to turn green, just rolls into me. I get out and check my bumper, and there's a crack in the paint and about a dime size dent. Not a lot, right? I was expecting a around a $500-600 repair, and that was the initial estimate range. When they got in there and removed the bumper, found a lot more damage. Ended up with a new bumper, impact absorption materials and backup sensors. Ended up being around a $4k repair. All because she was distracted at a stop light. Mind I didnt have to pay that, but it was still an inconvenience having my car in the body shop for a few weeks.
The kicker is, she got out to look at the damage and tried to claim there was no damage. I called the police to get a report. She started freaking out and getting hysterical, yelling at me and pulling at my arm I'm holding my phone with, while I'm on the phone with the police. I got back in my car and locked the doors and stayed in there until the police arrived. Crazy woman kept pounding on my window until the officer showed up.
Not sure if she was cited, but I got the police report with her listed at fault, which is what I wanted to make dealing with insurance easier.
I don't like Apple's method: When it senses you moving (which gets triggered for false positives as mentioned), it locks your phone unless you press the big button that says "I'm not driving.". Let's be real, if you're going after the people who actively text and whatever while driving, a single button press is not a real barrier to entry.
If the phone cannot distinguish driver from passenger, shut it off.
Making tools liable for their stupid users is not a good idea.
Is there no means to distinguish cases?
I guess this is something a self driving car should also keep in mind. Next we have to click on tiles with people using phones before login.
My father has a good one for going around blind corners and going up blind hills at night: Check trees and other objects in the direct path of oncoming traffic for light.
I also tend to look around buildings now, which is something self-driving cars probably already do but many drivers don't.
Back in high school, I convinced one of my friends that I had a 6th sense for cars approaching on a long drive back home at night. My trick was that the light from a cars headlights slightly reflects off the semi-gloss black rubber of powerlines and we lived in an area where everything was still on poles. I never noticed this effect on tree leaves but the power/telephone line trick worked really well because a ~6 foot section would be slightly lit, presenting a very large (but thin) target for your eye to see.
And for that matter, pedestrians also check their phones while walking and put themselves in danger or just obstruct the pedestrian flow around them. Luckily that is less likely to harm somebody than a car or cyclist.
But let’s not restrict this issue to just drivers. There’s a universal obsession with phones, and people who are unable to stop themselves (whether driving, cycling, walking) if they do need to send a text or email.
It's only going to get worse as more companies move to Austin while the city lags behind on infrastructure.
That's because as a cyclist on the road, you are inconveniencing the operators of highly-lethal, 4,000 lb machines. If you haven't crossed your i's, and dotted your t's, you need to be removed from the road, for their convenience.
No, no it is not. Because a phone is a computer. And a computer should be ultimately under its owners control, running software they choose.
The reason why we have a "war on general purpose computing" is because there are many things that would seemingly be fixed if all computers could simply be made to enforce policy, yet actually mandating they be setup to do so requires going down the path of digital totalitarianism.
It's mandated that you can't drive a car without a license. But the enforcement is done by the cops, not by the car.
It's mandated that you can't own a gun unless you meet certain criteria. But the enforcement is done by the cops, not by the gun.
And so on...
It can be mandated that you can't use a phone while driving. But the enforcement must be done by the cops, not by the phone. If the cops don't do it correctly, then the right course of action is to fix that, not to restrict the phone.
Because once we do start restricting ubiquitous personal devices in order to enforce the government's rules, it will never stop. Democracy can never work if freedom is granted by the government - the people must be able to do whatever they want, with the government potentially revoking a person's freedom after the violation if it finds one.
The problem is that with software on a general purpose computer, the issue must be taken to its logical extreme. Presumably someone advocating for digital restrictions doesn't envision settling for merely having the default install exhibit a behavior that can be changed with two minutes of following online instructions. Simply creating a restriction is not enough - for it to be effective, it must be fortified.
And that's the trouble, for the only way for that to happen is the platform to be fully locked down, removing the user's ability to modify. Phones are already perilously close to this regime, but manufacturers seem to not be seriously addressing rooting for right now. We can look to other areas (eg wifi routers) to see manufacturers only getting the idea because of half-baked government policy, and its needless chilling effects on software freedom.
(of course I haven't said anything about texting and driving itself, so you should just assume I think it's a bad idea like any reasonable person. I'm just pointing out that arguing for outlawing Free phones to prevent it is of the same non-starter category as arguing for outlawing cars)
I’m not advocating drinking and driving, but phone use is “no harm, no foul” right now. On the other hand you can drive without crashing into anyone but if you’ve had two glasses of wine with dinner, you can get charged with a crime.
Totally agree. Tickets, insurance penalties, loss of license, jail if necessary. Every phone-addicted driver is just a murder waiting to happen.
What a DUI perp says: I'm not drunk! Cops check blood alcohol level.
What a phone user says: I wasn't on my phone! Cops can't/won't check anything, and even if they could, how could the accident time be exactly (for proof) correlated?
My wife was rear ended by an SUV and has health effects to this day (it was over 10 years ago). There was no way to prove, or not, the other drive was on the phone. The driver was coming up to a stop sign in her own neighborhood that had a long line of cars that were stopped. It's highly likely she was on the phone or looking down at something. There was no evidence of brakes having been applied.
I argued with the insurance company for weeks about this. They wouldn't do a damn thing.
Maybe if phone companies allowed officers to see timestamps of texts for a number this would work.
It is ridiculous how lenient the laws are. 40,000 people die every year on our roads.
I think it is because people who make the laws are breaking them too.
We're largely talking about only the US market here -- in which only (and I say that word relatively) 37,000 people died in any sort of automobile related accident last year.
To put this in perspective, the common Flu (a totally vaccinatable, preventable, and treatable illness) killed about 52,000 people in the US last year alone.
According to the CDC, in 2016, 10,497 people (or 28%) of all automobile related deaths were alcohol-related deaths. Another 16% of automobile related deaths are attributed to drugs other than alcohol in the same year. That accounts for just about 44% of all vehicle related deaths, leaving the true automobile related deaths due to accident at a low number (relatively) of about 21,000 people per year.
According to the CDC, about 3,477 of all automobile related deaths were caused by distracted driving (of all kinds, not just cell phone usage), which amounts to around 9% of all automobile related deaths.
Sure, that number is a lot of people... but it's not some insane cell-phone induced epidemic folks are making it out to be.
Anecdote: As a vehicle driver, I've seen some insane cyclists violate all sorts of road laws, including peddling through red lights and cross multiple lanes of a road without warning... that's just to say, let's not pretend cyclists are totally innocent in all this.
There's injuries that never fully heal, trauma, lost wages, loss of a vehicle in some cases, the tremendous waste of resources from unnecessary repairs, etc, all from something that's mostly preventable (very few traffic collisions are true accidents).
Also, the comment you're responding to doesn't say anything about bicyclists, and I don't see anyone in this thread "pretending" they're blameless. And they yearly flu vaccines have a certain rate of effectiveness, which is somewhat less than 100% (the CDC says 40 to 60%).
Seriously in Denmark you get 20 days suspended prison if your are above 2.0 for a first offense. If you are above 1.2 you lose your license for a minimum of 3 years. If below 2, your fine is "only" your net salary for the month....
Everybody I know in California who got a DUI got quite penalized--it definitely stopped all of them cold so they would never have to go through the penalties again.
Maybe you can get away with DUI in the country club crowd, but certainly not lower than that.
Oh yeah, the concussion too. That was pretty rough as well.
Did you have to go through a discovery process or?
What happened to the distracted driver?
I was told by my lawyer that the police investigation concluded that she was guilty of DUI but that due her statements the cell phone was implicated as the reason. She was above .08 barely, but she was presumably not drunk enough to drive for a quarter mile or more without looking up at the road.
A scary game: when in stop and go traffic, have a look at the person behind you. Are their eyes on the road, or their lap? In my experience, 7 out of 10 are looking at their lap, with a quick glance up every 5 seconds or so.
I spend plenty of time on my phone, but geez, have some phone free moments every now and then.
Agree with your other points though.
I don't mean to say it's not a valid concern, I just think that it can be done in a way which makes it clear that one is not doing anything weird.
Or perhaps I have misunderstood you, and instead you’re one of those types that thinks people need to answer to you for the things they do. In that case, I have no help for you.
I don't whip out my phone at the urinal, but I'd check it on my way to or from the bathroom rather than while spending time with friends.
Turns out, one of them is dangerous.
It happened to me more than once almost getting into an accident, both while walking or driving because the other party is distracted by a smartphone instead of paying attention to driving or walking. People cross road like complete maniacs while using smartphones, luckily I have quick response time to brake the car, but there are other people that might not have such luck. I am afraid that in the future when my response time increases this might become a problem, even if I lower the velocity.
I never use my phone while driving, not even in stop signs or red lights. Yet it is so socially acceptable to do it these days it's disgusting. I hate this so much I make an simple website to try to raise awareness. I haven't dedicated much time promoting it because it was just a small side project to experiment with TailwindCSS, but I might as this problem affects even my family...
I see this comparison a lot, and I just want to clarify: when you are distracted as a pedestrian, you're risking your life. When you are distracted as a driver, you're risking other people's lives.
Getting behind a wheel drunk is considerably more dangerous to society than going home on foot. Phone use equivalently so.
I have far more patience with people risking their own lives, rather than those of others.
You are letting distracted pedestrians off too lightly. They are not just risking their own lives; they are risking the lives of motorists, cyclists, and other pedestrians by potentially forcing motorists and cyclists into erratic evasive maneuvers to avoid them. Ditto for drunk pedestrians. We should not be giving them a pass just because drunk/distracted drivers are more dangerous.
Sorry to be cruel, but I'm passionate about drunk and distracted driving. Less so about drunk pedestrians. I'd really like to focus our efforts and not get distracted.
Let's start a separate conversation about texting pedestrians. I'll join. But please let's keep this one about just this one thing: people putting others' lives at a significant risk on a daily basis. It's a different ballgame.
Also, if the issue is an attitude of "no fucks given", then they seem just as severe to me because then they might take their "no fucks" on to the road.
If it's something frivolous then it can wait. If it's important then are you really able to compartmentalize it? Will you be able to put the conversation out of your mind, or ghost your chat partner as soon as traffic starts moving?
Try putting 'blinders' on when talking to a passenger and driving normally. E.g. put a hand up so you can't see them, even out of the corner of your eye. This A/B test (for me anyway) ups the mental effort 2X or more.
I am a zealot about driving mindfully, actively and defensively. When I am driving, I am driving. I go the second the light turns green, I scan ahead constantly to change lanes a hundred yards before a slow car or obstacle. A lot of other folks do this, it is not unique or special. But... I think the vast majority of people do not drive this way and it drives me absolutely nuts.
How often do you see someone accelerating towards a car that is decellerating (usually in the far right lane) and then, at the very last minute, they slam on their brakes realizing the situation they are in. Why didn't that person notice the situation before it happened, since it happens all the time, and move over before getting stuck?
How often do you miss a turn lane signal because people in your line were either not paying attention or taking their sweet time to react?
It's not just the fault of devices, though that is a significant factor. I think phones exacerbate the real issue which is that, lately, people are not mindful about what they are doing (driving, walking, etc...)
The reality is most people go about their days doing their business, not analyzing what they've done that day or thinking on how it can be improved the next. This is a phenomenon (to me) since it's considered a positive cultural trait (改善 Kaizen) in other cultures.
Japanese drivers are always glued to their phones. Almost every car has a built in TV and drivers watch it while driving and messaging someone on their phone. Bicyclists often hold an umbrella in one hand while playing a game with the other. Police aren’t making any effort to crack down on it and nobody is willing to accept that their own driving is dangerous and in need of improvement. The western idea of “kaizen” is sorely lacking here.
Its a drug, the potential to optimize your plans on the fly is so attractive that even folks that swear they'd never text and drive, do it the moment it has utility?
My desire to avoid the inconvenience of some extra driving (if I drive all the way to the destination only to leave because plans changed) is not more valuable than other people's lives.
There's no good reason to be on your phone while your car is in motion — absolutely none.
And yet... that's still a pretty minor inconvenience when weighed against the potential to cause people to die or otherwise be seriously injured. There's no valid justification for it.
> see if they're expecting you/changed plans
This is impossible with Android Auto, you can't read or send texts (without voice, which doesn't work properly in my car). It auto-responds telling people to phone me if it is time-sensitive (like changed plans).
If they don't call back I'll arrive late, big whoop, at least I'm not arriving in a body bag. If they have a problem with me being late, they changed plans last-minute. None of which has happened to me.
> do it the moment it has utility?
It never has utility.
Where is this culture where it's acceptable to change plans on a guest that is driving to your house while they are driving?
Going to 'somebody's house' has all but disappeared from modern culture, for most of the population. Maybe at Christmas.
But for some bizarre reason, most drivers find it unthinkable to simply pull over for 2 minutes to handle their business.
If I need to fiddle with a map or respond to a text, I pull over. It's really super ridiculously easy to do and takes almost no time at all.
I get what you're saying but these are the thousands of little thoughts in the back of your mind that encourage you to use your phone in the car. "Just leave the phone in your pocket" has to defend itself against every one of these little pervasive thoughts. Why do you think the mobile tech companies are worth tens of billions? They got a drug better than any other.
I attempted to answer that question recently.
I run my phone in Do Not Disturb mode 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No notifications. No texts. No calls. No E-mails. I’ll check these things at night sometime when I’m not doing other things like driving a 2000 pound steel death machine on the interstate.
I'm not defending or justifying doing it - im simply explaining why it's such a common phenomenon. People are often in conversations all day long with others. Or engaged in online discussions like this. Life is filled with boring moments and phones alleviate us of that. That's why people do it.
Why is this a thing?
One is a few months of decreased mobility. The other is an entire life.
Consider that a plurality, if not a majority of the population is convinced that they're efficient at multi-tasking, and specifically that they can perform each task as well as in isolation. But we know that almost nobody multitasks well, period, and absolutely not with equivalent performance.
In addition, I believe the effective penalty for vehicular manslaughter is probably ten thousand times worse because of the psychological cost of being responsible for someone's death.
Make a phone-themed one!
Yeah, in practice it seems the only thing that will really work is license suspension.
That exact thing does happen to me. The drivers in my country are atrocious even if we do not consider the use of phones. Having to cross the street is quite stressful and do not dare to do so without running, even if I am in a another country with more sane drivers.
Here's a neat trick, just say, "Hey Siri* Send a message to $firstname $lastname's $phone. Tell them I'm [on my way, 5 minutes away, picking up milk, buying pizza]"
* Or whatever platform you use. I'm an iOS user.
In fact, our roads have continued to become safer in the 10 or so years since the release of the iPhone.
I have no idea if this study's conclusions are controversial or not. If someone could identify the study, I'd be appreciative.
Edit: corrected to 2014, not 2015.
Note that fatalities per 100M population has not just been trending up, but it is doing so after trending down for many previous years.
Don't text and drive no matter what, it's easy to pull over if it's necessary!
What damage on your vehicle caused the high cost of repairs? Just surprisingly high for a 3~ MpH impact.
I'm not surprised to see a car accident with wildly different results on both vehicles.
You pulled into a driving lane that the other vehicle was already in. Your justification for why you shouldn't be at fault is that he was "speeding" but there's no set speed limit in a parking lot, and you're meant to verify it is clear before locomotion.
Plus if you witnessed them "speeding" you would have known you were pulling out in front of them, which makes you in the wrong anyway. If you didn't know they were oncoming you couldn't have known they were "speeding." It doesn't make basic logical sense that you could have both known they were speeding AND pulled out into them, because to know that you would have had eyes on their car.
All to say, you weren’t there and don’t know what happened. And I’ll leave it at that.
So that would mean drunk driving is actually the third leading cause of impaired driving damage.
Why is the third cause villified, but not the first two?
That's a hard "citation needed" claim you're making.
Of course people should stay off their phones, but there are plenty of ways that people can make mistakes driving, and the best way to make pedestrians safe is to limit their interactions with cars.
We need to fundamentally back away from the automobile oriented design of our cities. This is the real solution, not doubling down on car infrastructure and hoping that some vaporware self driving software will save us.
It isn't possible to become 'not drunk' that quickly.
I rank drunk driving as worse than dealing with screaming kids as worse than writing something at a red-light as worse than just reading a preview on the screen for a measured quantity of time when in a situation that is safe enough to mentally relax and not be at 100% focus is at-hand.
And yet it takes even less time to irreversibly ruin somebody else's life because you weren't paying attention when it mattered.
Whatever is happening on your phone is not more important than other people's lives. Don't use your phone while your car is in motion — period.
> The researchers specifically found that cell phone users are:
> - 9 percent slower to deploy the brakes
> - 19 percent slower to return to normal speed after braking
We are - realistically - decades away from outright bans on human-operated vehicles at any real scale... so why not try to reign in the ever-expanding sprawl and car-centric planning that encourages/requires such widespread use of vehicles by distracted people, drunk people, etc in the first place? If its not alcohol, its phones. If its not phones, its makeup, or breakfast, or a fight with a passenger... more people who can walk, take transit, bike, etc means fewer deadly distractions or impairments.
instagram killing natural spaces from lack of crowd control.
decreased mental wellbeing and increased suicide rates.
facebook privacy concerns.
somebody needs to tackle these social crises, since the incentive is not there for the companies to address it themselves.
I'm not asking because I'm personally interested in "safe" ways to text and drive or whatever, just really to contextualize. It also seems highly relevant to the crop of cars being released with touchscreens and soft controls for what have traditionally been tactile interfaces.
I have fond memories of being in high school and texting one-handed in class on my Blackberry without looking. Not quite as ideal as T9 for one-handed use, but I was essentially stupid for the few moments I spent doing that. My brain was elsewhere. The problem with distracted driving isn't purely vision (although that's a factor). The mental context-switch is a huge problem.
Phone and software makers have an unique opportunity to save lives on the road by taking measures to prevent this terrible behaviour. They'll be rewarded by getting some of the public trust back, and seeing they are optimizing around public good as opposed to eyeballs.
A good example is Android Auto, which prevents the driver from typing on the car's screen while driving.
2) configure cars to track phone usage, time-stamped, and downloadable thru the OBD port. If driver is sole occupant,
some use of phone would be provable. No good for off-line
activity, like games. Obvious privacy issues like other OBD data.
3) Pedestrians need an app for the “self-walking phone”
with sub-1-meter location accuracy that flashes green man,
or yellow or red hand when phone-obsessed user is about
to step off curb into cross-walk or traffic.