In hopes to prevent deaths and injuries that happen due to texting and walking, Honolulu has put out a smartphone ban at crosswalks.
Hawaii’s capital city, Honolulu, passed legislation that imposes a smartphone ban when it comes to crosswalks. From late October of this year, people caught with their eyes on their phone while crossing the street, also known as distracted walking, will be fined. This is a first major American city to put out such a ban.
The reason for this ban is the hope for the reduction of the number of injuries and deaths that happen each year because of the smartphones being used while crossing the street. A study made at the University of Maryland in 2015 showed that 11,000 injuries between 2001 and 2011 could be linked to pedestrians being distracted by their phones. And since the obsession with our smartphones is higher than ever now, it is expected for these numbers to grow only higher. This has been proved right when the National Safety Council has added distracted walking to the list of the most probable risks to injury and death in the US.
So from October 25th of this year, people who cross the streets of Honolulu with their eyes on the phone will face a fine between $15 and $99. The amount will depend on how many times the police has seen you making the same mistake.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell had stated for the reporters that Honolulu has been known as a major city that has more pedestrians being hit in crosswalks, particularly seniors, than almost any other city in the country. Funnily enough, he made his statement at a well-trafficked intersection earlier in the week.
Although this ban has been put in Honolulu first, the territory of the United States isn’t the only one that needs this kind of ban. Since last year, traffic lights have been put in the ground in Augsburg, Germany, so the pedestrians could see the lights being changed even when still looking down at their phones. In London, lamp posts are being padded so that people who manage to walk or run into these huge metal poles avoid concussions.
Still, not everyone is feeling great about the ban in Hawaii.
Resident Ben Robinson wrote to the city council, stating that instead of passing the intrusive bill, officials should provide more education to citizens about the responsible ways of using electronics, and allow the law enforcement to focus on greater issues the state faces. But until the world finds a way to provide this education, this fine could become a new norm everywhere.