London- In an unprecedented procedure in the United States, the city of Honolulu has decided to ban pedestrians from looking at mobile phones or texting while crossing the street.
The ban decision, which will take effect in Hawaii’s largest city in late October aims at reducing injuries and deaths from “distracted walking.”
First offenders caught gazing at devices, including laptops and digital cameras, face $15-$35 fines. Urgent calls to the emergency services are exempt from the ban.
The bill, also known as the Distracted Walking Law, was signed off by the mayor of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell, on Thursday, after the city council approved the measure by a vote of 7-2.
The new legislation, which will come into effect on 25 October, states that “no pedestrian shall cross a street or highway while viewing a mobile electronic device”.
Repeat offenders face fines of up to $99.
The new law has met opposition from some members of the public, who accuse the government of over-regulation.
Distracted walking incidents involving mobile phones accounted for more than 11,100 injuries in the US between 2000 and 2011, according to the US National Safety Council.