Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

Should your city fine ‘phone zombies’?

Caution sign in city warning people crossing on their phones

The Hawaiian city of Honolulu has begun fining people who cross the road whilst looking at their mobile phones.

Individuals that cross the road in the Hawaiian city of Honolulu whilst looking at their mobile phones are to be hit with a US$15-US$35 fine. This is due to tough new laws brought in by the city’s lawmakers to reduce the risk of accidents caused by individuals not paying attention to what they are doing whilst walking the city’s streets.

The Distracted Walking bill was signed into law in July and is now active after a three-month education period.

“For obvious reasons, your eyes aren’t where they’re supposed to be and it puts everyone at risk. Just looking down at one text, you can have your eyes off the road for five seconds,” said James Shyer of the Honolulu Police Department.

Apparently, other North American cities are also looking at implementing similar laws. In Toronto, Canada, for instance, the City Council voted to ask provincial Ontario to amend the existing traffic laws to make distracted walking an offence. This request was turned down, however.

Another option open to cities is dedicated mobile phone walking lanes, similar to those that launched in the Chinese city of Chongqing a few years back.