updated 05:36 am EDT, Thu May 8, 2014
Fine proposed for people walking on roads looking at smartphones
Pedestrians in Taipei could soon receive a fine for being distracted by a mobile phone when walking. Legislators in Taiwan have proposed the fine which would involve forcing pedestrians to pay approximately $10 per infraction, if they were to use a smartphone while walking on the road without due care and attention, in order to lower the number of traffic accidents caused by inattentive walkers
The legislators consider anyone with their head down looking at a screen as distracted for the purposes of the fine, reports Kotaku, though it is unclear what the stance is for people with raised heads speaking on their phone. It is also unknown what will happen for users of wearable devices, such as Google Glass. Media in the region claim that there are over 14 million mobile internet users in Taiwan, and that a large number are "addicted" and causing accidents.
One example cited is the case of a woman dying in hospital after being hit by a taxi that she failed to notice, because she was using her smartphone instead of watching the road.
Taiwan is not the only country seeing the growth of smartphone use as an issue. A recent report in Japan noted the number of incidents involving smartphones while walking or cycling has increased by over 50 percent between 2010 and 2013. The majority of the 36 incidents reported in 2013 were caused through people looking at a smartphone screen, compared with just five for those speaking on the device, with the most common age group involved in the events being those in the 20s and 40s. Mild injuries requiring ambulance transport occurred in approximately 80 percent of cases, with at least one case leading to a train-related death.