Mobile Phone Users Target of 'Distracted Walking' Law

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October 29, 2017

Hawaii's largest city has made it illegal to cross the street while staring down at a mobile device.

Honolulu, with an estimated population of more than 400,000, has a new law targeting "distracted walking"; those who are caught breaking the law will face a fine of up to $99. Anyone who happens to be making an emergency phone call while "distracted" will not face a fine.

An 11-year study nationwide in the U.S. reported more than 11,000 injuries due to pedestrians who were distracting by mobile phones or tablets. Another study found that pedestrian deaths rose in the U.S. 11 percent in 2016, to about 6,000.

Other cities across America are considering similar laws. The move follows in the foosteps of cities in Germany and China in recent years. Augsburg, Germany, installed traffic signals into the ground, in an attempt to prevent "distracted" pedestrians from walking in front of trams. Chongqing, China, created special lanes for mobile phone-carrying pedestrians. India has joined the campaign, rolling out "no-selfie zones" at one of the Hindu religion's largest festivals. A U.K. newspaper also reported that London had unveiled a few padded lamp posts, after repeated instances of distracted pedestrians walking straignt into the posts.

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