Honolulu Will Fine People for Texting and Walking Starting in October

New law forbids pedestrians for using their phone on the go in the Hawaiian city.

July 31, 2017 1:46 pm
Honolulu Bans Distracted Walking text tax
A tax on texting could be coming to California. (Getty Images)

One city council thinks pedestrians who text pose as much of a danger as drivers who text.

A new law in Honolulu will fine people crossing the street while on their phones. It’s the first major U.S. city to pass legislation to try and reduce injuries or deaths caused by “distracted walking.”

Starting on October 25, it will be illegal for Honolulu pedestrians to cross a street or highway while looking at their phone or tablet. Reuters reports the fine ranges from $15 and $99, depending on how many times police catch the person committing the infraction.

According to Reuters, over 11,000 injuries were caused by distracted walking in the United States from 2000 to 2011.

By cracking down on “smartphone zombies,” the city is trying to lower the pedestrian-fatality rate in Honolulu where it’s among the highest in the country, according to Slate.

Opponents of the law, announced Thursday by the city’s mayor, say it’s an incursion on personal freedom, claiming numbers justify it.

While pedestrian fatalities are on the rise, it’s likely caused by distracted driving. Slate reports 70 percent of the fatalities that involved phones were people talking—not texting—and walking, but vehicular fatalities increased during the same period.

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