New law makes it illegal to start walking on the countdown timer

A new law clarifies when a pedestrian can legally enter a crosswalk

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Watch your step!

A new crosswalk law that took effect Monday says pedestrians can’t legally enter a crosswalk while a countdown timer is flashing.

The fine for pedestrians in the wrong? Up to $130.

Honolulu Police Department Capt. Ben Moszkowicz said the law actually clarified what was already on the books.

“The only safe and appropriate time for you to begin crossing the street is when you see either the white upraised palm or you see the picture of the man walking," Moszkowicz said.

“What the law does it clarifies if you’re already in the intersection when the countdown timer begins, then you should have enough time and its legal for you to continue crossing.”

Legislators passed the law in a bid to decrease the number of pedestrians killed in Hawaii roadways.

Last year, 43 pedestrians died in the islands. That was up from 15 in 2017.

What do pedestrians think of the new law?

Richard Hernandez said that if people would “look out for themselves, it wouldn’t be a problem."

"People kind of just go blindly staring at their phones the whole time,” Hernandez said. “It drives me nuts when people do that.”

For tourist Darrell Belt, the law needed some adjustments.

“I think what they need to do is disclosure. I think you need signs up here saying that something to the effect of fines if you start walking when the hand is up," Belt said.

“You get in such a habit, ya know? You walk without thinking.”

Belt said that the fine was also “outrageous” and just a way for the government to make more money.

“A $25 fine makes the same impression and would help change behavior," Belt said.

But Belt’s wife, Anne, said the law was a good way to help improve the public’s safety.

“There’s more accidents, people could get killed. It’s dangerous for small children," Belt said.

Last year, Moszkowicz said, HPD issued more than 2,700 crosswalk citation violations. But it wasn’t clear how many of those were issued to pedestrians.

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