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Hawaii capital cracks down on ‘smartphone zombies’

Honolulu plans ban on pedestrians using a phone while crossing city streets

Distracted walking is a safety concern for urban authorities worldwide.
Distracted walking is a safety concern for urban authorities worldwide.

The city of Honolulu has passed a law banning pedestrians looking at mobile phones or texting while crossing the street, Reuters reports.

The ordinance will take effect in October, as the city seeks to put the brakes on injuries and deaths caused by distracted walking.

Honolulu pedestrians can be fined between $15 and $99, depending on the number of times police catch them looking at a phone or tablet device as they cross the street.

The mayor said the law was in response to an increase in pedestrians being hit at pedestrian crossings.

Cities all over the world are grappling with distracted phone users. While the Hawaii city has decided to punish, others have been more accommodating.

The city of Augsburg in Germany has installed new traffic lights embedded in the pavement — so that pedestrians constantly looking down at their phones won't miss them. Meanwhile, city authorities in Chongqing last year opened a 'phone lane' dedicated to texting pedestrians. A street in London has also experimented with padding lamp posts to soften the blow for distracted walkers.