A law banning Honolulu pedestrians from using cellphones and other electronic devices while crossing the street will be going into effect Oct. 25.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell called the city’s new law one he wishes it didn’t have to pass, but he said common sense does not always prevail, Hawaii News Now reported.
The first violation can earn a pedestrian a $15 to $35 fine. Additional violations will be $75 to $99. For comparison, jaywalking is a $130 fine.
The measure, known as the electronic devices pedestrian safety bill, was introduced by Councilman Brandon Elefante and aims to increase responsibility of pedestrians while on the road. The fines are low because the law is meant to be a reminder to stay aware while crossing the street, Elefante said.
“While we have laws in place for our motorists and our bicyclists, now it’s a shared responsibility for pedestrians as well, to really pay attention as they cross the street,” he said.
Some have called the bill “intrusive” and “another attempt at local government overreach,” while supporters feel it is needed to keep pedestrians safe and distraction free.
“We’re not out there to look for how many citations we can get,” Honolulu police Capt. Thomas Taflinger said. “We’re just out there to make sure everybody’s safe.”
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