Honolulu bans texting for pedestrians crossing street

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Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill Thursday afternoon making it illegal for pedestrians to look at their phones while crossing the street, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported, becoming the first major U.S. city to ban use of the devices while walking.

People caught texting or viewing a mobile electronic device while crossing a road or highway can be fined up to $35 for their first offense, BuzzFeed reported. A second violation rises to a $75 fine, while a third infraction would cost a texter $99.

“We want to protect pedestrians both as they walk on our sidewalks but also on our crosswalks,” Caldwell said during a news conference. “And we hold the unfortunate distinction of being a major city with more pedestrians being hit in crosswalks, particularly our seniors, than almost any other city in the country.

“Sometimes I wish there were laws that we didn’t have to pass — that perhaps common sense would prevail," Caldwell said, "but sometimes we lack common sense."

The bill will take effect on Oct. 25, BuzzFeed reported. It will include cellphones, laptops, video games, digital cameras and pagers. However, people using the phone to call 911 will not be penalized.

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