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Honolulu is the first major American city to put the law into effect.

Cailey Rizzo
August 01, 2017

It’s now illegal to text while walking across the street in Honolulu.

Last week, the Hawaiian city passed the Distracted Walking Law, which makes it illegal to step out onto an intersection while looking at a screen.

The city is giving pedestrians three months to change their ways: on October 25, police will begin enforcing the rule. Punishment for “distracted walking” is a fine that increases with number of infractions. A first-time violator will be charged $15-35. The second time they’re caught within the same year could result in a $35-75 fee and the third time could cost up to $99.

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"Sometimes I wish there were laws we did not have to pass, that perhaps common sense would prevail," Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said at the bill-signing ceremony, according to CNN. "But sometimes we lack common sense."

The ban applies to all screens, including video games, cameras, and tablets. There is one exception to the rule: Those who are making emergency phone calls to 911. Pedestrians won’t be fined for listening to audio or for texting while they are on the sidewalk.

From 2000 to 2011, there were more than 11,000 injuries in the United States caused by distraction from a phone while walking, according to Reuters.

Honolulu is the first major American city to put the law into effect, although the town of Fort Lee, New Jersey banned texting and walking five years ago.

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