Yamato, Kanagawa Pref. – The city of Yamato in Kanagawa Prefecture plans to set an ordinance intended to prevent smartphone use while walking.
Through the ordinance, the city aims to alert people to the danger of using smartphones while walking, which involves the risk of collisions with other pedestrians and traffic accidents.
Announcing the plan on Wednesday, the city government said that it will submit the ordinance to the Yamato city assembly’s regular session in June, in the hope of putting it into effect on July 1.
This will be the first ordinance in the country designed to combat “smartphone zombies,” or people operating smartphones while walking, according to the city government.
The road traffic act bans people from using smartphones while driving or cycling. But there are no laws or ordinances based on which warnings are given to smartphone zombies at present.
The Yamato municipal office’s ordinance will ask residents not to use smartphones while walking on streets, in squares in front of train stations and parks, and in other public places in the city. It will have no provision for punishment.
The city plans to raise people’s awareness through traffic supervisors and other staff officials deployed in the city while trying to publicize the ordinance through various platforms.
A survey conducted by the city government in January showed that about 12 percent of some 6,000 people seen in front of two stations in the city were using smartphones while walking.
More and more people apparently want steps to be taken against smartphone zombies, Yamato Mayor Satoru Oki said at a news conference on Wednesday.
“We, as administrative authorities, will appropriately respond to changes in society,” he added.