LEGISLATION TO PREVENT PEDESTRIANS CROSSING ROADS WHILST INTERACTING WITH MOBILE DEVICES

Many cities are grappling with safety issues arising from smartphone induced inattentiveness on the part of pedestrians whilst crossing roads. A survey in Yamato City in Japan revealed that 12% of pedestrians were using phones whist walking. This is a significant number. This has led to a variety of measures taken in the cities. Several cities such as Honolulu have made it an offence for a person to cross a road whilst looking at their mobile devices. Several cities like Hong Kong have come up with innovative ways such as bathing crossing points with red so that pedestrians looking down at their phones will know that the lights have turned red. The costs of doing this is not insignificant though. I asked the Minister for Home Affairs whether Singapore intends to go the way of legislation. In his answer, he felt education is a better solution. My PQ and his answer may be accessed through this link.

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Mr Murali Pillai asked the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry will consider the merits of introducing legislation to prevent pedestrians crossing roads whilst interacting with their cell phones or other mobile devices at the same time to ensure their safety and that of other road users.

Mr K Shanmugam: Many activities can cause pedestrians to be distracted while crossing roads, such as listening to music, speaking to another person, or interacting with a mobile device. It may not be practical to try to prohibit pedestrians from engaging in such activities.

A better approach is to foster good road safety habits and personal responsibility. The Traffic Police (TP) conducts regular engagement and outreach to educate road users on the dangers of distracted crossing. For example, as part of this year’s Road Safety Month campaign in June 2022, TP produced infographics and video advisories to educate the public on pedestrian safety, and the dangers of distracted crossing and jaywalking.

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Murali Pillai

Member of Parliament, Bukit Batok SMC, Advisor to Bukit Batok SMC GROs.