The city of Honolulu in Hawaii will become the first major city in the United States to pass a legislation that aims to reduce the number pedestrian injuries and deaths related to mobile device distractions when crossing the street.
As smartphone usage has increased over the past few years, more and more individuals have been focused on their phones and less about their surroundings. Unfortunately, this has landed some in a bit of trouble by becoming involved in accidents, like running into street signs or even stepping out into traffic and being seriously injured by passing vehicles.
With respect to the problem of "smartphone zombies", Mayor Kirk Caldwell said:
"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."
The ban will take effect starting on October 25 and will give police the ability to fine offenders $15 and could go as high as $99 for repeat offenders. This will apply to anyone crossing the street while using their phone or tablet device but will exempt folks that are making calls to emergency services.
Since this will be one of the first major cities in the US to experiment with such a policy, it will be interesting to whether it will be successful in curbing mobile device use will crossing a street and if other major cities will adopt something similar in the future.