Yamato, a city in Japan, became the first municipality in the country to ban people from using smartphones while walking in public areas, reported RT News.
The passage of the new ordinance is to prevent ‘smartphone zombies’ from endangering themselves and others as they walk down the street with their heads buried in a screen.
The city’s assembly in Kanagawa Prefecture passed the new rule last week and will go into effect this Wednesday. Violaters will not be fined or imprisoned, but the purpose is to bring awareness that “smartphones should be used when not in motion.”
The ordinance makes clear smartphone users should come to a complete stop while in public areas and not obstruct sidewalk traffic before checking emails or text messages.
Earlier this year, city officials launched a study in several high trafficked areas, observing roughly 6,000 people, and found 12% of people were actively using their smartphones while walking down the street. It concluded by saying smartphone users could trip or walk into traffic while using their device.
And maybe the Japanese are onto something – here’s a New Jersey woman texting while walking – falls into a basement.