A situation that often happens in urban areas is people walking around and staring at their phones while walking around. It causes people to bump into each other, and sometimes it causes a car accident.
Officials of Yamato city, which you can find near Tokyo, submitted a bill on June 1 to the city assembly. The bill aims to stop pedestrians from walking while they use their phones.
A city official stated for almost a decade, the number of people with smartphones has been increasing gradually, leading to more accidents in the populated parts of the city.
Explanation Of The Ban On Walking While Using A Phone
The city official said that the city's government wanted to prevent accidents from happening. He stated that if the bill were passed, then it would be the first type of its ban in Japan.
According to the city official, there won't be a punishment for people that can't bear to stop staring at the screens of their phones while walking in the streets.
Hopefully, the ban will raise awareness about how dangerous it is to be walking around unattentive of your surroundings. There will be posters, billboards, and more to help the citizens inform themselves of the ban, which they expect to take effect in July.
Is Banning Phone Usage While Walking A Good Idea?
A few years ago, in 2014, there was research conducted by NTT Docomo, a Japanese mobile giant. They found out your field of vision is reduced when you're looking at your phone while walking. When your eyes are glued to your phone's screen, you'll reduce the average field of vision you have down to five percent of what is normal to have otherwise.
NTT Docomo ran a thorough simulation on what might happen if 1,500 pedestrians passed by the infamously restless pedestrian crossing in Shibuya, Tokyo. At the same time, they all had their eyes glued to their phones.
Unsurprisingly, the results showed that every two out of three pedestrians wouldn't reach the other side of the crossing without experiencing an incident. The simulation had 446 people colliding with each other, 103 people knocking someone down, and 21 causing someone else to drop their phones.
The number of accidents involving phone usage with cyclists and pedestrians is slowly rising all over Japan. These accidents cause the families of the victims sometimes to demand almost 100 million yen (around 900 thousand U.S. dollars) in compensation.
People sometimes refer to these people as smartphone zombies or smombies for short. This term has seen notable modern culture usage as a way to describe pedestrians that walk sluggishly slow and without being aware of what's around them due to their being glued to their phones.
Some places have implemented safety hazards that are directed at smartphone zombies.
One example exists in Chongqing, China. There are separate sidewalks for those using their phones and those that aren't using their phones.
In Hong Kong, they call smartphone zombies, dai tau juk, which the meaning for that is the head-down tribe,