Taiwan Proposes Fining 'Distracted Walking' Due To 'Smart Phone Addiction'

from the this-will-surely-'work' dept

Back during the fervor over distracted driving discussions that generally looked to paint smart phones as a mythical human-murdering device that required new legislation in the realm of automobiles, one common refrain centered around the question of whether we’d take the next illogical step and ban walking while talking on phones or texting. Even Mike, our most esteemed leader, made such a quip: “will we now see legislation proposed to ban walking while yakking on your mobile phone as well?” Pssh, of course we will.

Or will soon, I should say, assuming “we” includes Taiwan, where a group of politicians are looking to levy fines against distracted walkers.

Looking to make crossing the street a little safer, Taiwanese legislators have proposed fining pedestrians who cross the street while “distracted” by mobile phones. The proposed law will fine any pedestrian deemed “distracted” about $10 for each infraction! According to Taiwanese media, there are over 14,000,000 mobile internet users in Taiwan, many of whom are supposedly “addicted” to their smartphones. This smartphone addiction has supposedly led to various traffic accidents on the island, so much so that 17 legislators have put forth a new law to fine distracted walkers.

There’s that addiction word, which has already gone such a long way towards removing any responsibility people have for their own actions in the past. Time for the government to step in and do a little social engineering through…$10 fines? That doesn’t seem like it will serve all that well as a deterrent. Hell, here in the States, we have people facing jail time and license revocation for drunken driving leave the courtroom and immediately get in their cars. What’s $10 going to do? And what examples do we have that such a fine is necessary to begin with?

Taiwan’s Apple Daily gave an example of a young woman in Kaoshuing, Taiwan. In late March, this young woman was crossing the street and, while she was distracted by her phone, she was hit by an oncoming taxi cab. She later passed away in the hospital.

I don’t know, it seems to me that tossing a $10 fine into the woman’s grave with her isn’t so much passing effective legislation as it is pissing on someone’s casket. Add to that the reports that these politicians are supposedly looking to emulate several failed traffic laws here in the States and I wonder whether everyone might just need a good solid midday nap so we can all get back to being sane.

Oddly, the report’s own survey found that something like 80% of people responding to the poll are in favor of the fine. The report did not clarify whether respondents did so on smart phones while they were walking alongside a busy highway, but I like to think they were. Any chance we could just go with a little common sense education of the walking dead public, instead? Naaaaah.

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Comments on “Taiwan Proposes Fining 'Distracted Walking' Due To 'Smart Phone Addiction'”

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Ninja (profile) says:

Wouldn’t it be much more effective to simply start a campaign to raise awareness that being distracted with your phone while walking will eventually lead you to your death and use examples like the lady cited?

There are two good examples that worked fine here: the cigarette boxes and ads started displaying warnings with quite strong pictures of the effects of tobacco in your health (ie: gangrened parts due to smoking, men that can’t maintain erections and more). Totaled cars from bad accidents were put on display on some major roads and streets with objective warning signs.

From time to time revisit the campaign to remind people how bad it is. Sure there will be those that will simply ignore. But those would ignore the fines too.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Wouldn’t it be more effective to make it legal to hit people in your car if they are walking in the street while on their phone? We can call it the “no more distracted walking – one way or another” campaign.

Can we add to that making it legal to slap the phone out of their hands if they are taking on it at the cash register in a store? Those people really annoy the heck out of me.

scotts13 (profile) says:

Do the math

14 million phone times N transgressions per year average, times $10 equals a nice little revenue stream. They could even set up “phone traps” at busy intersections, like the speed traps on the highway. A (more effective) awareness campaign would COST money, so…

Me, I’d let Darwin sort it out. Every person who gets run over is an example, and the average intelligence of humanity goes up a tiny fraction.

Just Another Anonymous Troll says:

This is stupid. This is really, really stupid. Distracted driving is/should be against the law because you are in control of a two-ton hunk of metal, you better be watching where you’re going! Distracted walking is more of a danger to the walker if anything, they’re just more likely to get run over. Are we going to fine people for not looking both ways next?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Distracted walking is more of a danger to the walker if anything, “

I’ve had people walk into me while staring at their phones, then giving me a really irritated look as if having to look up was all my fault. I’m not a little old lady but someone unsteady on their feet could have been pushed over. I say fine ’em.

Anonymous Coward says:

I live in Taiwan and I would love nothing more than for this to pass and then some. People here are on their smartphones day and night, anywhere and everywhere. It’s completely ridiculous.

Taiwan is a very crowded place, in particular the big cities like Taipei. Walking along the streets or in busy metro and train stations is a pain because these smartphone addicted twats don’t pay attention to their surroundings and bump in to you, suddenly stop walking or change direction which results in crowded places becoming more crowded and difficult to navigate. Their attention focus on the phones also results in them walking at a snail’s pace.

So yes please. Bring on smartphone bans.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Why not, everyone else is doing it.

You will be hard pressed not to find a single individual anywhere in the world that does not think something should be a law because they don’t like it.

Liberty for me, not for ye! It’s one of my cornerstones for trying to convince people that people are default EVIL not Good!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

When some idiot with a phone has nearly pushed you under a taxi because they were not looking where they were going, you might start to think that outlawing distracted walking is a good idea. This is a case where I do not care if someone wants to take risks with their own life, so long as they do it in private, but I object strongly when they take risks with other people lives.

Handsome Hillbilly says:

Distracted walking in Salt Lake City

Distracted walking is a chit able offense in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has been for over a year. But the again, this is SLC, where I sat on a bench to remove a stone from my shoe, only to be admonished by a security guard… Not allowed to display a bare foot. Where the police in patrol cars stop and stare at you for sitting at a bus stop, or stop you while walking to ask your name. Me? Just an average 75 year old clean, Alavert, we’ll-dressed, fit former Marine NCO, IT consultant and tech writer.

Harmon’s grocery store just built a park in downtown SLC. They posted a sign that says “We built this for your enjoyment. No loitering.”

Annonimus says:

Hitting stop signs

I walk straight into a stop sing from time to time usually when I am taking a walk with friends and/or family in a place I’ve visited for the first time and talking with them I don’t notice a stop sign in front of me and hit it instead.

Funny thing though when I am talking on my phone with family and/or friends I have never hit a single sign because I pay more attention to my surrounding since I am not with a group of people. So by the insane logic of the story in this article my phone makes me more attentive instead of distracting me.

Also before anyone asks to the best of my recollection I have never hit my face on the same stop sign twice. Hitting those fuckers once is more than enough to make me remember where each sign is in a certain street, so unless I am in a place I have never been to I don’t hit stop signs with my face anymore. And yes for some reason it has always been the stop signs I walk into.

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