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Ontario seeks to ban Zombies walking and texting on cellphones at the same time

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Anybody who’s walked the streets of a busy city will know about “smartphone zombies” people who stroll around with their faces in a screen, oblivious to the world around them. In fact, most of us have probably been this person at some point, sending a text or checking Google Maps while on the move and maybe crashing into someone waiting at the bus stop. (I have walked into at least one telephone pole.) It’s annoying, and it can be dangerous.

A handful of places are turning to so-called “zombie laws” that ban walking and texting. Canada’s most populous province is the latest: On Monday, Ontario politician Yvan Baker introduced a private member’s bill that, if passed, will see offenders who cross the street while using a phone or other electronic device slapped with a $50 fine for their first offence, and up to $125 for the third.

Honolulu has a similar law, which took effect on October 25, as does tiny Rexburg, Idaho. Seoul, South Korea, has installed street signs warning pedestrians to get off their phones.

Toronto is a terrible city for road accidents, especially at this time of year, when it’s dark out before dinnertime and the streets are getting icy. It’s easy to understand the appeal of a ban, especially if you’ve ever been stuck behind someone on their phone moving at a glacier’s pace down a busy street. (All ten provinces here have laws against distracted driving, which are also common in the US.) But laws against texting and walking aren’t the answer—it’s just more moral panic around technology. How about better pedestrian infrastructure instead?

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One Response to " Ontario seeks to ban Zombies walking and texting on cellphones at the same time "

  1. Amy Lewis says:

    Oh I am so very sick of the fucking phone zombies! People who cannot look up from their goddamned fucking phones for anything! They need to have their goddamned fucking phones snatched from them and smashed with framing hammers! Fucking addicted anti-social assholes!!!!

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