Pedestrians having their eyes glued to mobile phones while walking down the streets is a common sight that you can find at just about any city in the world. They sometimes don’t pay attention to things on the way, which eventually causes collisions or even severe accidents. Japan’s Yamato City seeks to put an end to this.

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The city officials submitted a bill to the assembly on Monday, June 1st, proposing to ban people from using their phones while walking. A member of Yamato City Government, Mr. Masaaki Yasumi told the AFP that the number of citizens using phones on the streets had dramatically increased, and so had the number of accidents. This very first ban in history may just be what they need to conclude such a rise. 

However, Mr. Yasumi informed that there would be no punishment applied to those unable of lifting their eyes from the screen on the street. Instead, he hoped that this new ban would raise awareness about the potential danger of such action. Yamato City will employ the help of posters and messages, showing citizens the rule starting from next month.

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In 2014, NTT Docomo, a Japanese mobile giant published its findings on estimated pedestrians’ average vision field while looking at mobile phones. It was just 5% of our normal vision. 

The company also conducted virtual simulation research on what would happen when people use phones on the chaotic Tokyo’s Shibuya pedestrian crossing over 1,500 subjects. The results were expected. Only one-third of the people made it through without any accidents. The rest suffered 446 collisions, 103 knock-downs, and 21 phone drops. 

Yamato City ban phones shibuya
The simulation indicates that only one-third of 1,500 people avoided accidents crossing the Shibuya while using phones

The number of accidents that happened between people using mobiles while riding bicycles and pedestrians also rocketed in Japan. In known cases, victims' families demand a compensation amount of up to 10 crore yen ($10 lakh).