Image: Richard Yeh / WNYC – via Flickr
Honolulu has become the first major US city to ban pedestrians from looking at mobile phones, texting or using digital devices while crossing the road. (BBC News)
The new law, which will come into effect in Hawaii’s largest city from 25 October, states that ‘no pedestrian shall cross a street or highway while viewing a mobile electronic device’. It is being introduced in a bid to reduce injuries and deaths caused by ‘distracted walking’.
First-time offenders caught gazing at devices, including laptops and digital cameras, face a fine of between $15-$35 (£11-£26), while repeat offenders face fines of up to $99. Urgent calls to the emergency services are exempt from the ban.
The bill, also known as the Distracted Walking Law, was signed off by the mayor of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell, after the city council approved the measure by a vote of 7-2.
Mr Caldwell told Reuters news agency: “We hold the unfortunate distinction of being a major city with more pedestrians being hit in crosswalks, particularly our seniors, than almost any other city in the county.
“Sometimes I wish there were laws we did not have to pass, that perhaps common sense would prevail, but sometimes we lack common sense.”
The bill has, however, met with opposition from some members of the public who accuse the government of over-regulation.