Should distracted walking be illegal in the crosswalk?

KING 5's Natalie Swaby reports.

This week, Honolulu will start ticketing people who use their cell phone while crossing the street. It is a $15 fine for a first offense.  The city says it is an effort to avoid accidents.

The National Safety Council reports distracted walking injuries are on the rise.

While Honolulu is the first major U.S. city to take action, there is speculation it won't be the last.

In Seattle, there are no plans for a distracted walking law, according to Seattle Department of Transportation spokesperson Norm Mah.

Mah also said SDOT has no data that shows distracted pedestrians put other travelers at risk. He adds that all commuters need to pay attention.

During Wednesday evening's commute, it was easy to find pedestrians with eyes focused on their phone. There were people talking, texting, and even snapping mid-street selfies.

"People are distracted all the time," said Chris Levaughn. "Everyone is looking down at their phone."

"If I'm behind them, I hate it because they are going very slow," said a commuter.

Other commuters said Honolulu is taking things too far.

"If you are in the right of way already and you are looking at your phone, that shouldn't be illegal," said one man.

© 2017 KING-TV


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