Mobile device ban for pedestrians up for final vote at city council


We were always taught to look both ways before we cross the street, but no one said anything about looking down at your phone.

That could be changing soon.

If it becomes law, Bill 6 would make it illegal for pedestrians to use an electronic device while crossing the street. It says “no person shall cross a street or highway while viewing a mobile electronic device.”

The bill advanced out of the Committee on Public Health, Safety, and Welfare on Tuesday.

Honolulu City Council member Brandon Elefante introduced the bill.

“As technology has advanced in the last decade, we see that more and more people are really not paying attention to their surroundings, and looking at their mobile electronic devices. Safety is a concern. We don’t certainly want it to lead to a casualty or a severe injury with people crossing the street,” he said.

The fine for using an electronic device while crossing could be $15 to $100 for the first offense, up to $200 if you are caught twice within a year, and up to $500 for the third time.

“The enforcement will be from a law enforcement agency. The Honolulu Police Department has testified, and our office has worked with them in particular on the language to make sure it is enforceable,” Elefante said.

According to the bill, a mobile electronic device includes a cell phone, text messaging device, pager, laptop computer, video game or digital photographic device, but does not include audio equipment.

If the bill passes, you could also get cited or looking down at your phone while riding your bike.

It is up for a third and final reading before the full council in June. If approved, the bill will be sent to the mayor.

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