Honolulu Bans Smartphone Use for Pedestrians

Honolulu just became the first major U.S. city to ban the use of smartphone for pedestrians. The legislation specifically imposes a smartphone ban on crosswalks starting in October. The penalty includes a fine between $15 to $99 USD and many other US cities are also expected to follow soon. Studies by the University of Maryland have shown that smartphone use is directly responsible for over 11,000 injuries in the US between 2010 and 2011. The increasing number of users also means that the number of injuries is increasing. Honolulu in particular has seen an increase of injuries from seniors more than any other city in the US.

Solutions Beyond Legislating a Smartphone Ban

Understandably, not everyone approves of this law. Honolulu resident Ben Robinson calls the bill “intrusive” and attributes the injuries to irresponsibility. He suggests educating the public with responsible use of electronic devices instead.

Other countries are also looking at alternative solutions to fix the pedestrian distraction problem. Augsburg, Germany for instance has begun embedding traffic lights on the ground which is closer to the smartphone users’ line of sight. London also began padding lamp posts so that distracted pedestrians do not suffer concussions when hitting the pole face-first. This solution also helps those who come from the pub drunk.

Ron Perillo

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