Distracted walking law goes into effect, bill's author defends it

The Distracted Walking bill went into effect on October 25, 2017 in Honolulu. That means that Honolulu Police can cite pedestrians for looking at their phones or tablets as they walk across any crosswalk. It's meant to protect pedestrians and boost safety. City Councilman Brandon Elefante was the one who authored the bill. He believes that people around the world are watching us to see if it will work.

Critics have said this is an overreach of local officials. Elefante said that it's simply a matter of pedestrian safety especially since Honolulu has the 13th highest rate of pedestrian deaths in the country. He is hoping that this law will force them to be aware of their surroundings and lower the statistics.

Criminal defense attorney David Hayakawa, who appeared on Sunrise the day before, said that he is concerned for our civil liberties. He believes this gives officers an excuse to stop almost anyone they want under the guise of violating this law. Hayakawa said, that would give police the time to run anyone's identity through the system. Elefante said that this law was born out of concern from high school students and himself who foresaw the dangers of pedestrians walking around and staring at their phones, completely unaware of the cars whizzing around them.

Copyright 2017. Hawaii News Now.