People who cross the street while looking at their phones may be fined in the city of Xiamen, Fujian province, as traffic police officers are enforcing a local regulation that was put into effect on Tuesday.
A pedestrian who was crossing the street on Tuesday while looking at their phone was given a warning, becoming the city's first to receive a reprimand for the behavior.
The Traffic Safety Regulation on Zebra Lines in Xiamen Special Economic Zone, enacted on Tuesday, states pedestrians should not loiter, browse their electronic devices or engage in other activities that may endanger traffic safety while using crossing lanes. Those who violate this rule and impede the normal passage of vehicles are subject to a warning or a fine of 50 yuan ($7).
The regulation was made in response to motions by legislators to the Xiamen people's congress. "Through rectifying uncivilized behavior via legal means, we hope to create a better environment for drivers and pedestrians to better understand and interact with each other," said Wu Tao, an official at the local congress.
Su Guoqiang, a deputy to the congress among those who raised the motion, said more than 20 percent of traffic accidents in Xiamen happened on crosswalks. "We hope to use the punishment of the 'small' act of browsing phones as a deterrent," he told China Central Television.
Peng Chong, a traffic police officer in Xiamen, told CCTV for the time being they will mostly educate and warn violators and make everyone involved in traffic aware of the rules.