Smartphones are no different than any other technological advancement in that they afford a wealth of modern conveniences at the expense of unforeseen consequences. For example, people have become so enthralled with using their phones that they neglect basic tasks… you know, like paying attention to where they are walking.

It may sound trivial but it’s a very real concern.

A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association found that pedestrian fatalities in the US have shot up more than 22 percent over the past two years.

Some cities have installed traffic lights into sidewalks and crosswalks and even added padding to lamp posts to try and protect pedestrians from themselves but others are taking a firmer approach.

In October, Honolulu, Hawaii’s largest city, will enforce a law making it illegal for people to look at their phone or tablet while crossing the street. According to Mayor Kirk Caldwell, fines for non-compliance will range from $15 to $99 depending on how many times police catch them looking at their mobile device. Those placing calls to emergency services won’t be fined as part of the law, Reuters notes.

The legislation was passed in a 7-2 vote by the city council earlier this month and signed by the mayor late last week.

The legislation will almost certainly cut down on the number of pedestrian-related injuries but of course, not everyone is sold. Some believe the restrictions infringe on personal freedom and are classified as government overreach.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Are rules like these necessary to keep people from injuring themselves or should folks simply exhibit a bit more responsibility and willpower when it comes to using mobile devices in public? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Lead image via Getty Images