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Hawaii to Fine Smartphone Zombies

A new rule in Honolulu, Hawaii allows police to fine pedestrians up to $35 for viewing their electronic devices while crossing streets...
November 7, 2017

A new rule in Honolulu, Hawaii allows police to fine pedestrians up to $35 for viewing their electronic devices while crossing streets. Honolulu is thought to be the first major city to adopt a measure aimed at reducing the hazard of texting while walking on busy streets.

Federal data show that U.S. pedestrian deaths in 2016 rose nine percent from the year before to 5,987—the highest toll since 1990. A report by the Governors Highway Safety Association suggests the sharp rise in pedestrian deaths may be linked to the sharp rise in smartphone use, which the report called, “a frequent source of mental and visual distraction” for both drivers and walkers.

“There is chaos in the crosswalks,” said David Canepa, a member of the Board of Supervisors in San Mateo County, Calif., which unanimously passed a resolution he introduced prohibiting pedestrians’ use of cellphones while crossing streets. He said he’s had some close calls with distracted driving and walking himself. “I know it’s an issue. I’ve lived it. My cellphone is my life.”

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