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‘Texting while walking’ now a crime in Honolulu

/ 05:04 PM October 26, 2017

Ever been stuck on a busy pedestrian lane during rush hour, only to find out that the person in front was texting?

Residents of Honolulu, Hawaii, will no longer experience such obstacle, as it becomes the first major city to ban people from texting while walking.

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According to the New York Times, offenders who will be caught crossing the road while viewing any electronic device will be fined $35 (around P1,800) for their first offense, while  a second violation will cost $75 (around P3,800).

Subsequent offenses would cost as much as a $99 (around P5,000) fine, the report said.

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“This is really milestone legislation that sets the bar high for safety,” City Council member Brandon Elefante, the man behind the bill, told the news outlet.

City Mayor Kirk Caldwell also said the “distracted pedestrian law” is a must for Hawaii, after a 2015 study by researchers from the University of Maryland noted that 11,000 injuries resulted from phone-related distraction in the US.

“Sometimes I wish there were laws we did not have to pass, that perhaps common sense would prevail,” he said, adding that the bill was first passed in July, but has been strictly implemented this month.

 “But sometimes we lack common sense,” he admitted.

Apart from smartphones, anyone caught using handheld video game devices, laptops and digital cameras are liable as well.  Khristian Ibarrola /ra

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