Should Pedestrians be Ticketed for Crossing Streets While Distracted, Cell Phone Use?

South San Francisco, CA    July 31, 2017  

Honolulu has passed a law making it illegal for pedestrians to “cross a street or highway while viewing a mobile electronic device.” The law covers video games, pagers and laptops, and the ubiquitous smartphones Reuters has reported. Fines would start at $15 and could run up to $99 per ticket. The law does not prevent a pedestrian from talking on their phone while crossing or to look at your phone while on the sidewalk.



The Governors Highway Safety Association  reports:

States reported 2,660 pedestrian fatalities for the first six months of 2016, compared to 2,486 deaths during the same time period in the previous year. Using this data and historic trends, GHSA estimates that there were 5,997 pedestrian fatalities in 2016. Potential factors contributing to this spike include a better economy, an increase in walking as a primary mode of transportation, and distraction due to growing use of smartphone technology.

GHSA also asked its state members to provide examples of their efforts to reduce pedestrian and motor vehicle collisions. Promising strategies include: high visibility enforcement and public information campaigns aimed at both motorists and pedestrians; identifying high-risk zones and conducting educational outreach in these areas; and strategic partnerships with local universities and community organizations to advance pedestrian safety.

The report was authored by Richard Retting of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants.

South San Francisco residents seem to agree this is a good idea as shown below in response to our question on our social media. What do you think?



EVERYTHING SOUTH CITY  QUESTIONS: Walking? Tickets to pedestrians crossing the street while on devices is being considered in Honolulu and is an interesting conversation since we have so many here in #SSF that complain about not only drivers not giving the right of way, but pedestrians who do not stop to look before crossing.
Your thoughts?


Adrienne: Ticket Them!! In cars and walking! People Need To Wake Up & Realize Other People Are In This World Too!!!


Rose:  We were just driving by a Murano on the freeway today; we looked over and she looked like she was Facetiming someone (holding the phone in front of her, smiling and laughing into it, etc! She exited with us on Avalon; anyway, not the only vehicle but meanwhile, we had to make sure we’re not in her way in case she can’t stop in time, etc. Like you said, there are other people in this world! ARGH.


Erik: ‪ Do it!!!! They’re distracted and walking even slower than usual


Jan:‪ Do it like hawaii did.


Evan:‪ Yes! Do it!


Chris: ‪ Na


Sally:‪ I think they should get tickets too. They are distracted while walking in a cross walk.


Andrea: ‪ I almost hit a woman walking across the street between two parked cars looking down at her cell phone. Thankfully I was going slow enough to stop my car. I rolled down my window and yelled at her to get her face out of her phone and pay attention to where she’s walking. To my surprise she looked at me and told me that I was the driver and it was my responsibility to look out for her because pedestrians have the right away. I just laughed at her and called her an idiot. People have the right away if they are in a cross walk but not if they are stepping out between cars and not being safe. I see people every day walking looking down into a phone. It’s a good way to run into a pole or trip and fall. I say give them tickets. Extra income for the police department.


Laura:  YES!!!

John:‪ Some morons pull out their phone when they see you and walk slower, it makes their Day for some reason


Melissa:‪ Definitely worth considering I constantly tell my children to make sure they stop at the corner and look at the drivers at the stop signs/lights make eye contact before proceeding to many times I see kids just continue on the street they don’t even care to look if a car is coming and I see parents and grandparents do it was well when crossing the street. Cars will always win in the battle so make sure the driver sees you and is aware protect yourself


Gretchen: ‪ Yes! Pedestrians are the worst! Especially kids getting out of high school ! No one ever trained them!


Gatita:‪ Yes, I really agree w/ you, kids are the worst the are walking without looking of where they’re goingYes…. i see a lot of ppl walking and looking down on their cells, as the laws says txting is a ticket same for the pedestrian, cause sometimes they are the ones who causes the accidents… lets be fair tickets to anyone who are using their cells while driving ‪? or walking ‪?


Ben: ‪ If this is true think about how many kids will be subject to tickets. Just because you’re a child doesn’t exempt you from the law.


‪This sounds good in theory, but is probably stupid in practice. Unless you want want cops targeting kids after school considering how many tickets they could give.

Michael: ‪ They should site them…


Patrick: ‪ I got lost trying to find an address in Honolulu using cell phone navigation. They have some gigantic intersections with tens of streets that start with K. The navigation changed dramatically within the intersection because I was looking for a small narrow street that extended at a strange angle away from Wikiki. The speed of the traffic was fast and the people had to hustle across the huge intersection. They are not after the kids in this case.



California is listed as one of the top 10 states with the highest fatality rates for pedestrians. To view more charts from the Governors Highway Safety Association CLICK HERE


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