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Smartphones 'lead to missed stops'

An estimated 20 million passengers miss bus or train stops each year because of "digital distraction" from their smartphones, a study suggests.

The problem has affected 51% of Britons and causes around 15% of commuters to run late for meetings, according to the findings.

Over the last year, passengers have missed their stops an estimated 29 million times, the report showed.

Londoners were found to be among the most preoccupied by their mobiles. Three in five (62%) of the capital's Tube, bus and train travellers said they missed a stop for this reason.

On average, Londoners miss two stops a year. A handful of commuters consulted for the study (3%) said they failed to disembark at an intended point more than 20 times in the last 12 months. Some 2,000 people were consulted by OnePoll for the report last month.

Of those who have missed stops, one in seven people (16%) said they failed to catch a bus because they were using their phones; more than one in 10 (13%) said they missed a train and one in 20 (5%) said they missed a plane.

The findings were revealed in the Mobile Life report by O2 and Samsung which was compiled to assess the impact of mobile phones.

David Johnson, general manager for devices at O2 in the UK, said smartphones could improve the commuting experience but warned of the risk of "digital distraction" from mobiles. "The increasing depth and sophistication of the entertainment we can get on them means consumers may need a little extra push to help their day run smoothly," he said.

The two mobile firms have launched a set of "Mind My Stop" stickers for travellers who become distracted while checking emails or playing games. Users are encouraged to write the name of a stop on the sticker in the hope that another commuter will give them a nudge if they look likely to over-shoot a destination.

The top smartphone distractions, according to the report, are: using social media/surfing the web - 35%; emails - 28%; gaming - 27%; making calls - 15%; and watching video clips and TV - 7%.

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