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When the lights change at the Shibuya crossing in Japan's capital, one of the world's busiest pedestrian thoroughfares, hundreds of people with their eyes glued to smartphones pick their way over the road.Tokyo Fire Department, which runs the ambulance service in the megalopolis, says that in the four years prior to 2013, 122 people had to be rushed to hospital after accidents caused by pedestrians using their cellphones.More than half of Japanese now own a smartphone and the proportion is growing fast, including children who customarily walk to and from school.Research by Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo estimates a pedestrian's average field of vision while staring down at a smartphone is just 5 percent of what our eyes take in normally.The mobile company ran a computer simulation of what could occur in Shibuya if everyone crossing the intersection was looking at their smartphones.The results, based on a fairly average 1,500 people swarming over the road at any one time, were alarming: 446 collisions, 103 knockdowns and 21 dropped phones.
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