Bill would ban cellphone use while crossing streets

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Honolulu, Hawaii (KITV) — No more walking and talking? Honolulu City council member Brandon Elefante has introduced a bill that would make it illegal to use your cell phone while crossing the street, or highway.

“I think it’s to promote safety and it makes a lot of sense.. it’s not always the driver,” Honolulu resident, Rico Biacan said. “Just to be safe you should be alert at all times.”

Taking it a step further, Bill 6 (2017) would also make it illegal for bicyclists to be on their electronic devices while in a crosswalk.

Although, there is an exception.

“In the case of an emergency, a pedestrian may be able to call 9-1-1 and utilize their phone,” Elefante said.

Elefante introduced the proposed bill after a community member expressed their concern over too many pedestrians walking across streets with their eyes glued to their mobile devices.

“My cell phone isn’t even on my mind .. I look both ways to make sure I’m safe to cross the street,” Biacan added

While some, like Biacan, proceed across the street with caution , Elefante says he wants to make sure everyone does the same.

“Honolulu, Hawaii is the 13th highest in pedestrian fatalities.. and our goal every year is always to have zero pedestrian fatalities,” Elefante said.

While similar bills have failed in the past, Elefante says he isn’t hanging up on the proposal.

“Part of the reason I introduced that is for people to be more cognizant and aware as they cross the street and to pay attention to their surroundings,” Elefante added. “I think it’s important that pedestrians also have to be responsible in looking both ways when they cross the street.

The bill has passed one out of the five readings needed to make it through.

It now goes to the Planning and Transportation committee.