ShareThis Page

... And look where you're going

| Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

Possibly indicating a new trend afoot, two city governments at opposite ends of the nation are sending wake-up calls — or, more to the point, “Look up!” calls — to smartphone-using pedestrians.

Going beyond smartphones' role in “distracted driving,” their role in “distracted walking” is now being targeted, CBS News reports. A new Honolulu ordinance, effective in October, fines pedestrians $15 to $99 when police catch them crossing streets while gazing at their smartphones. A proposal in Stamford, Conn., calls for $30 fines when police catch street-crossers texting or talking on electronic devices.

These initiatives speak volumes about just how wrapped up in their smartphones too many people are these days. Research shows distracted walking's on the rise — and so are fatalities among pedestrians so glued to their hand-held screens that they're oblivious to their surroundings.

The police chief in Rexburg, Idaho, says that when his town banned pedestrian cellphone use in crosswalks in 2011, “the problem just about went away and we haven't had any issues with it since we starred enforcing it.” One of two Honolulu council members who opposed that city's ordinance because it “borders on over-regulation” expects it to be challenged in court.

Whatever such measures' fate, it shouldn't take government intervention for pedestrians to do the commonsense thing for their own safety: looking up from their smartphones. It's today's update to looking both ways before crossing a street.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.