Japanese city to disallow phone use while walking

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 2 Jun 2020

It is a scene repeated the world over: pedestrians glued to their phones while walking, causing collisions and sometimes accidents.

No more, says one Japanese city.

Officials in Yamato city, near Tokyo, yesterday submitted a bill to the city assembly to stop people using their phones while walking.

"The number of people using smartphones has rapidly increased and so have the number of accidents," city official Masaaki Yasumi said. "We want to prevent that."

If passed, it would be the first such ban in Japan.

Posters and messages will inform citizens of the rule, which is expected to take effect next month.

In 2014, research by Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo estimated a pedestrian's average field of vision while looking at a smartphone is five percent of what our eyes take in normally.

The company ran a computer simulation of what would occur if 1,500 people used the hectic Shibuya pedestrian crossing in Tokyo while looking at their smartphones.

They found that two thirds would not make it to the other side without incident, with 446 collisions, 103 people knocked down and 21 dropping their phones.

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