Soon To Be Illegal In Honolulu: Crossing the Street Using A Phone?

We've all heard about the dangers of texting while driving. In Honolulu, city officials are considering banning texting while crossing the street.

It's the kind of story you're sure to see on tonight's news: A ban so sweeping that pedestrians caught talking on the phone while crossing the street could be breaking the law. Cue the footage of a busy downtown crosswalk.

Three cameramen hopped up to record Wednesday's Honolulu City Council discussion of Bill 43.

The bill, sponsored by Ann Kobayashi, would prohibit using "a mobile electronic device while crossing a street or highway."

The bill was spurred by a rash in pedestrians deaths. The hope is that preventing people from texting-while-walking would help them be more aware of their surroundings. But it's not clear whether there is a correlation between cell phone use and the pedestrians victims — many of them elderly – who were hit by cars in crosswalks.

One Honolulu police officer who turned out to testify called the measure "overbroad," and said it would also apply to anyone holding a "laptop computer, Kindle (or) iPad."

A young woman testified in support of the bill, saying that "as a new driver," it reassured her to see lawmakers considering measures to make the roads safer.

Another man told the council he was disturbed by the measure, and asked council members: "Why are you trying to control our lives like this?"

As is typical with just-introduced bills, the bill passed first reading, so council members can discuss it in more detail.

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