Maui News

Electronic Device Pedestrian Safety Law Goes into Effect Oct. 25

October 24, 2017, 1:55 PM HST
* Updated October 24, 1:56 PM
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It is now illegal to look at an electronic device while in a crosswalk in Honolulu. Maui Now Photo

A new city ordinance that makes it illegal to look at a cellphone or other electronic device while crossing a street or highway on O‘ahu goes into effect Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017.

Bill 6 (2017), CD2, FD2, authored by Councilmember Brandon Elefante, was signed into law by Mayor Kirk Caldwell on July 27, 2017 and goes into effect 90 days after enactment.

The Honolulu Police Department has used the past 90 days to educate pedestrians about the danger of crossing a street while looking at a cellphone or other electronic device, such as a video game or tablet.

The penalty for violating the new law is a fine of not less than $15, but not more than $35 for the first offense. The fine rises to a minimum of $75 and a maximum of $99 for a third offense within one year after the first infraction.

The National Safety Council states that it’s “just as important to walk cell free as it is to drive cell free. Pedestrians and drivers using cell phones are both impaired and too mentally distracted to fully focus on their surroundings. For pedestrians, this distraction can cause them to trip, cross roads unsafely or walk into motionless objects such as street signs, doors or walls.

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“Distracted walking injuries involving cell phones accounted for an estimated 11,101 injuries between 2000 and 2011, making it a significant safety threat. The trend is so alarming that it was included for the first time in the annual National Safety Council statistical report, Injury Facts®, which tracks data around the leading causes of unintentional injuries and deaths.”

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For the National Safety Council citation, click here.

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