Pedestrians Banned from Using Smartphones in Yamato, Japan

Yamato becomes the first city to ban walking while using a smartphone, however, there will not be penalties.
Fabienne Lang

You're in a rush walking down a narrow path or pavement and you're stuck behind a slow, meandering fellow pedestrian who has their nose glued to their smartphone. Your blood is boiling as you try and get past them, and you probably mutter a few sarcastic words as you finally make it past them. 

Walking while looking at your smartphone is simply not safe, nor is it socially very acceptable. However, unfortunately, many (too many in our opinion) people around the world operate in this way. 

So the news that Yamato municipality in Japan has put up a 'ban' against people who walk while on their smartphones is very welcome news indeed. 


Look up, not down

Yamato is going to be the first municipality in Japan that is attempting to stop its citizens from walking around in public with their heads turned downwards to their phones.

The rule takes effect on Wednesday, after a draft ordinance in the city's assembly in Kanagawa Prefecture was passed last week.

However, people caught in the act won't actually face a penalty. The city instead hopes that by having this rule in place its people will be smart enough to realize that "smartphones should be used when not in motion."

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As per the ordinance, pedestrians who wish to use their smartphones while out in public should find a spot away from moving traffic and stop to look at their phones there. The rule applies to those walking on pavements as well as in parks, for instance. 

Earlier this year in January, the city carried out a study at two different locations and observed 6,000 locals. The study showed that around 12% of pedestrians used their smartphones while on the move. After this survey, the draft ordinance was submitted on June 1. 

Time alone will tell if the people of Yamato will actually stop using their smartphones, but the action is commendable.

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