A US city has become one of the first in the world to ban pedestrians using their cell phones while walking or crossing the street. This move could open the floodgates, leading to the controversial new law being implemented across America.
Scrap this intrusive bill, provide more education to citizens about responsible electronics usage, and allow law enforcement to focus on larger issues.
Starting October 25, 2017, people crossing the streets of Honolulu, Hawaii while texting or using a digital device could face fines of up to $99.
According to The Sun newspaper, urgent calls to emergency services will be excluded from the ban, but repeat offenders face significant fines or even jail time if they fail to pay up. First time offenders will be slapped with an on-the-spot $25 fine.
The city’s new Distracted Walking Law states that “no pedestrian shall cross a street or highway while viewing a mobile electronic device”.
Kirk Caldwell, Mayor of Honolulu said the law has been introduced because people “lack common sense.” He continues by stating that “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.” Mayor Caldwell signed the ban after the city council approved it by a vote of 7-2 earlier this year.
According to the US National Safety Council, it was revealed that more than 11,000 injuries in the United States between 2000 and 2011 were the result of distracted walking incidents.
Honolulu Not the First City to Ban Texting and Walking
However, despite the council having the best interests of its citizens in mind, local residents have opposed the new bill and accused the government of over-regulation.
The Sun says that an angry resident, named Ben Robinson, wrote to the local council urging them to focus on more important issues. “Scrap this intrusive bill, provide more education to citizens about responsible electronics usage, and allow law enforcement to focus on larger issues,” writes Robinson.
Despite some public outrage, many locals believe the new law is a good move that could help save lives and improve road safety. Experts suggest that this new law could make its way across America, and much of the world, within the next few years.
In 2012, the town of Fort Lee, New Jersey, approved an $85 fine for anyone caught texting while walking. Lawmakers there called for the ban to be placed within the same realm as jaywalking. Offenders were to receive a $50 fine for their first offence, and up to 15 days in jail for repeat offences. Although the 2012 the law was thrown out, Pamela Lampitt is still rallying for support within the state.