In the latest installment of “Humans vs. Smartphones,” the Hawaiian city of Honolulu has adopted an ordinance banning pedestrians from crossing a road “while viewing a mobile electronic device, barring a 911 or emergency services personnel contact situation. Those devices can range from cellphones to mobile gaming consoles to “personal digital assistant” (will you really use a Google Home while crossing the street?) to even cameras, but exempts audio equipment.
Fines range from $15 to $35 for the first offense, $35 to $75 for the second and $75 to $99 for subsequent violations. The tally racks up for a period lasting a year from when the first violation occurred. The law will take effect October 25.
Pedestrians can still talk on the phone and use them on sidewalks.
It appears that this is the first law enacted in a major United States city that goes after a wide range of electronics use while walking. Ordinances revolving around texting while walking or using a phone while operating a motor vehicle have received much more coverage and adoption.
Other places, like Augsburg, Germany, have accommodated such walking behavior with signals on the ground (pictured above) to let them know when a street trolley is approaching a grade crossing.