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In a first of its kind, Japan's Yamato city imposed a ban on the usage of mobile phones while walking on the streets on July 1.
Visitors arriving at the railway station in Yamato City were greeted with banners announcing the new prohibition, which applies to all foot journeys around the neighborhood's public roads, squares and parks.
"Using smartphones while walking is banned. Please operate your smartphones after you stop walking," a recorded female voice cautioned travelers. City officials stated the move has been made after the number of accidents had increased due to the use of smartphones.
Although no penalty will be given to people who break the law, the motive behind this ban is to make people aware of the dangers of walking with their eyes glued to their phones which can lead to many untimely accidents.
The World Health Organisation(WHO) had estimated that mobile use makes accidents four times more likely. In Australia, authorities have estimated that 9 percent of fatal car crashes were caused by distracted drivers which including mobile phone users.
As per media reports, research by Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo in 2014 found that pedestrians lost 95 percent of their field of vision while staring down at a smartphone.
The company ran a computer simulation of what would occur if 1,500 people traversed the road outside Tokyo's Shibuya station the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world while all simultaneously looking at their smartphones.
The results showed that two-thirds would not make it to the other side without incident, with 446 person-to-person collisions and 103 people being knocked over.
The ban garnered support from all age groups ranging from young to old with very few flouting the rules on the streets of Yamato city.
"I often see people using mobiles while walking. They are not paying attention to things around them. Elderly people may not be able to dodge them," said 64-year-old Kenzo Mori to the media.Questioning the need for legislation on this matter, teenager Arika Ina said she often saw people looking at their screens while walking and believed the habit was dangerous.
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