Could Toronto adopt a 'zombie law' to curb distracted walking?
Honolulu just adopted a law to fine people caught in the act up to $35
Zombies are a common sight on city streets — and not just around Halloween.
Think of those smartphone users with their eyes glued to the screen, even while walking down crowded sidewalks or crossing busy streets.
Now, one U.S. city — Honolulu — is cracking down on that kind of distracted walking with a so-called "zombie law."
People who are caught texting or not paying attention while crossing the street can be fined up to $35, or even more for repeat offenders.
The law is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. So should Toronto consider something similar?
One 2016 poll suggested the majority of Canadians support regulations to ban distracted walking.
66% of Canadians support 'zombie law'
The survey of more than 1,000 people across the country found 35 per cent of people older than the age of 18 would strongly support a ban. Another 31 per cent say they would somewhat support the idea.
Together, 66 per cent of people surveyed — or two-thirds — supported such legislation.
And Toronto city council actually tried to ban distracted walking last year. Council voted 26-15 to ask the province to amend the Highway Traffic Act to make it illegal to use your phone or other mobile device while crossing the street.
But the province quickly turned it down.
At the time, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said pedestrians should keep their heads up while on the road and always be aware of their surroundings. He also noted that Toronto — and all municipalities — "are mature levels of government with powers to establish bylaws."
Law not 'best use of resources,' says Tory
Following Toronto's move, a Vancouver city councillor publicly voiced his support for a similar ban, and in December 2014, a councillor in Calgary asked the city and police to look into fines for distracted walkers.
When asked on Wednesday if Toronto might reopen discussions about a distracted walking ban, Mayor John Tory said it hasn't been on his radar.
Public education is a better strategy, according to Tory.
"The idea that we're going to have more people writing out tickets and handing them to people who are crossing the street without [care] doesn't strike me, necessarily, as the best use of resources," he said.
So what do Toronto police think? Const. Clint Stibbe, with the force's traffic services, said pedestrians need to take some responsibility for their own safety.
"We shouldn't need a law for common sense," he said.
With files from Julia Whalen, Ali Chiasson, Lauren Pelley