We all know how useful smartphones can be in our day to day activities. However, these handheld computers that help us carry out various tasks can become a health hazard when people immerse themselves in them while walking or driving. We have seen different governments take steps to reduce the use of mobile phones while driving. Now, Japan’s city of Yamato becomes the first city to ban the use of smartphones while walking.

The city of Yamato is in the Kanagawa Prefecture and is home to an estimated population of over 234,000 people. The authorities of the city passed an ordinance last Thursday that prevents citizens from using smartphones while walking in public places such as roads, parks, etc.

The decision came after the government conducted a study at two of the hot spots of the city. The study involved observing around 6,000 citizens in the places and record how many people use their smartphones while in motion.

According to the study, around 720 (12%) out of 6000 of the citizens use their smartphones while walking. So, after the survey, the draft ordinance was submitted on June 1 to the city’s assembly. And authorities passed it recently, on July 2.

Now, according to the new rule, which will take effect from the 15th of this month, citizens should not use any digital devices while walking on city roads or any public places. When there will be a need to access a mobile device while walking, pedestrians should stop at a place where they are safe and use the devices for as long as they want. However, if anyone breaks the rule, there is no penalty for it, as of now.

The authorities say that the new rule is an attempt to stop citizens from being unaware of their surroundings while walking in public spaces. They say that they hope that people will understand the fact that “smartphones should be used when not in motion.”