A new city ordinance that makes it illegal to look at a cellphone or other electronic device while crossing a street or highway in Honolulu officially goes into effect today.
The electronic device pedestrian safety bill 6 (2017), CD2, FD2, authored by Councilmember Brandon Elefante, was signed into law by Mayor Kirk Caldwell on July 27, 2017. The Honolulu Police Department has used the past 90 days since its signing to educate pedestrians about the danger of crossing a street while looking at a cellphone or other electronic device, such as a video game or tablet.
The penalty for violating the new law is a fine that ranges between $15-$35 for the first offense. The fine rises to a minimum of $75 and a maximum of $99 for a third offense within one year after the first infraction.
The National Safety Council states that it’s “just as important to walk cell free as it is to drive cell free. Pedestrians and drivers using cell phones are both impaired and too mentally distracted to fully focus on their surroundings. For pedestrians, this distraction can cause them to trip, cross roads unsafely or walk into motionless objects such as street signs, doors or walls.
According to the national safety agency, “Distracted walking injuries involving cell phones accounted for an estimated 11,101 injuries between 2000 and 2011, making it a significant safety threat.”
The rise in distracted walking injuries led the NSC to include it for the first time in its annual Injury Facts report, which tracks data around the leading causes of unintentional injuries and deaths.
Source: City and County of Honolulu
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