You already know that texting and driving is against the law, but for a few years now cities across the US have considered making texting while crossing the street illegal. Honolulu is one of those cities.
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Honolulu’s City Council passed a bill Wednesday that makes it illegal for pedestrians to use their phones while they’re crossing the street. If they are caught, they can be fined anywhere between $US15 ($19) and $US99 ($126) — depending on how many times they have broken the law.
Technically, you’re exempt from the ban if you’re busy dialling 911.
The bill is currently on its way to Honolulu’s Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who has 10 business days to sign it. Mayor Caldwell “worked closely” with City Councilman Brandon Elefante on the bill, CNN writes, suggesting that Honolulu could become the first major US city to finalise such a ban.
Cities in New Jersey, New York, Arkansas, Illinois and Nevada have all tried to create similar laws, but they have all failed. The town of Fort Lee, New Jersey, is one exception; it banned texting while crossing the street in 2012. According to Injury Facts, pedestrian incidents involving mobile phones accounted for more than 11,100 injuries between 2000 and 2011 in the US.
Cities such as London and Augsburg have also launched initiatives to caution pedestrians to look up from their phones while crossing the street. London padded lamp posts so distracted people wouldn’t bump into them, and Augsburg installed red and green lights on the floor that grab the attention of those looking down. There’s also an app called Tug that sends users notifications when they’re about to enter a crosswalk against the signal.