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Although texting while driving a vehicle is commonly seen as the most dangerous use of cell phones, texting and walking may soon become another well-publicized safety issue. On October 25th, Honolulu will begin to ticket “mobile cell phone users, [and] those using laptops, digital cameras or video games” walking throughout the city.

Fines for first and second offenses in a year will be up to 35 dollars and 75 dollars respectively, while third-time offenders will be responsible for up to 99 dollars. First responders and 911-callers are exempt from fees. While these fines are only comparable to those of a minor vehicular infraction, they are necessary in bringing awareness to the negative effects cell phones may have in citizens’ lives.

In addition to the many mental health issues posed by constant cell phone usage, continuous distraction by any electronic device is an undeniable safety risk. Cell phones may bring our fast-paced society closer in many ways, but they also distance us from our present environment. Councilman Martin of Hawaii has equated millennials with “smartphone zombies” and has advocated the law as an authoritarian yet necessary measure to prevent technology overuse. Pedestrians on electronic devices often block sidewalks in urban cities and impose on the space of peers.

From the years 2000 to 2010 the National Safety Council reported over 11,000 “cellphone-related distracted walking injuries.” Moreover, many injuries are not reported due to embarrassment on the part of the user. Although 47 states currently have laws against texting and driving, many urban cities are considering Honolulu’s path, bringing awareness to walking safety.

A little known precursor to Honolulu’s legislature is the town of Fort Lee, New Jersey, which enforced an 85 dollar fine for jaywalkers using cell phones in 2012. Other American cities or towns should follow suit in addressing mobile phone usage on public property.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell of Honolulu wishes “there were laws that we [the city of Honolulu] did not have to pass, that perhaps common sense would prevail,” but he hopes that his new legislature will help the city become a safer environment for pedestrians and drivers alike. Although many lawmakers cite “governmental overreach” as flaw in the new legislature, without such laws the American people will not self-correct this dangerous habit.