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Honolulu becomes the first major city to pass ‘distracted walking’ laws

A ban on electronics will go into effect in October.


Phillip Tracy


Posted on Jul 31, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 10:10 pm CDT

We all know about distracted driving laws, or policies put in place so people keep their eyes on the road. But what about the dangers of distracted walking? Sure, it’s easy to laugh at the woman who face-plants into a fountain or the guy who slams into a door, but distracted walking is a serious problem. According to Injury Facts, distracted walking incidents involving smartphones and cell phones accounted for more than 11,100 injuries between 2000 and 2011—and that number is only increasing.

One city in Hawaii is finally taking action with an ordinance that bans “distracted walking.”

Citizens and visitors of Honolulu will be fined for taking out their smartphones, playing video games, or using several other electronics while crossing the street. The law sets fines of $15 to $35 for first offenses, $35 to $75 for second offenses, and $75 to $99 for third offenses in the same year. It covers a range of electronics, including smartphones, tablets, personal assistants (Amazon Echo), laptops, handheld video games, digital cameras, and pagers. Notably absent from the list of banned items are audio devices, like MP3 players, which have been the subject of several roadway accidents over the years.

Honolulu will adopt the new motto “don’t walk and cross” to encourage safety while crossing the street. It’ll also become the first major U.S. city to pass legislation on using electronic devices while crossing the street. Similar bills in Arkansas, Illinois, Nevada, and New York have failed in recent years.

The ban in Honolulu will go into effect on Oct. 25.

H/T Bradenton Herald

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*First Published: Jul 31, 2017, 1:54 pm CDT