Beginning Wednesday, it is illegal to look at your phone while walking in an intersection in Honolulu. Police will be able to fine first-time offenders $15 to $35, and that amount can go as high as $99 for third-time offenders.
While other locations have attempted, and for the most part failed, to pass similar laws, Honolulu is the first major city to successfully do so. The new legislation is believed to be rooted in a dramatic increase in pedestrian deaths in 2016. According to The New York Times, pedestrian fatalities totaled about 6,000 last year, a 10 percent increase from the previous year. This is reportedly the highest since 1999, although it is yet unknown how much of this jump can be attributed to the use of handheld devices.
“This is really milestone legislation that sets the bar high for safety,” Honolulu City Council Member Brandon Elefante, who proposed the bill, told the Times.