The city of Yamato in Japan is looking to ban people from texting, or otherwise staring down at their smartphones, while walking in the hopes that it will cut down on dangers both to the users as well as others.
The draft order was passed by the city’s assembly on Thursday and is set to go into effect next week. There will be no penalties for people who ignore the order, but the city hopes people will come to observe the edict: “smartphones should be used when not in motion.”
A study was conducted at two locations in Yamato this past January that found that 12% of pedestrians use their phones while walking. These people were labeled “smartphone zombies” or “smombies” because of their unawareness of others. They often walked into traffic or other pedestrians.
Japan is not the only country stumped by pedestrians who are endangering others by “walking while distracted.”
Last year the city of Ilsan, South Korea, was forced to install laser beams and lights at street crossings to get pedestrians to look up from their phones and be aware that they’re about to cross an intersection.