Two years later: How the “distracted walking” law is holding up in Honolulu

Two years ago, Honolulu made it illegal — with few exceptions — to cross the street while fiddling with your phone or other device.

It was the first major city in the nation to enact a so-called “distracted walking” law. And since it went into effect, police have issued 232 citations under the law.

But has it actually made roads safer for pedestrians? That’s up for debate.

Pedestrian fatalities on Oahu roads actually soared last year and don’t appear to have significantly dropped off in 2019.

City Councilman Brandon Elefante said the distracted walking law was the brainchild of a group of Waipahu students who were concerned that their peers were spending too much time looking at their phones when they should have been looking for traffic.