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Ontario considers motion to ban phone use while crossing streets

Using your phone while crossing the street can be a dangerous venture, particularly if you are someone who pays no attention whatsoever to your surroundings when doing so. However, it is also an activity that a city council speaker wanted to ban in the city of Toronto.

As MobileSyrup notes, the Highway Traffic Act already forbids Ontario drivers from using their mobile devices while operating their vehicles. Meanwhile, Councilor Frances Nunziata wanted to take things one step further and ask the Ontario provincial government to amend the legislation to ban phone use when crossing a street. According to this proposal, If you are caught using a mobile device while on a crosswalk, you will be fined.

Interestingly, the motion originally forbade texting while navigating crosswalks, but Nunziata changed the wording to include banning the use of all mobile devices.

Related: Seoul campaign addresses latest public safety issue — texting while walking

“That City Council request the Minister of Transportation to consider making a regulation under Section 185(1) of the Highway Traffic Act prohibiting pedestrians from actively using a handheld wireless communication device or handheld electronic entertainment device while using on any traveled portion of a roadway,” the proposal reads.

The motion passed with 26 yays and 15 nays, with three absent votes. Furthermore, Toronto mayor John Tory threw his weight behind the motion and supported Nunziata’s proposed ban.

Unfortunately for Nunziata and his motion’s supporters, Ontario’s Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca quickly shot down the proposal, saying Ontario has no plans “to make changes to the Highway Traffic Act in response to this request.” However, he did suggest that Toronto can pass a new bylaw that bans texting while walking, reports 680 News.

Perhaps Toronto wants to follow the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s lead and install traffic and pedestrian signs for those whose eyes are glued to their phone screens? Just a thought.