The city of Honolulu has put into practice a law that fines people who “cross a street or highway while viewing a mobile electronic device.”
“Viewing” is defined as “looking in the direction of the screen of a mobile electronic device.”
The Hawaiian capital passed the law in late July and gave 90 days notice of its commencement. That period of time has elapsed and the Ordinance [PDF] came into effect on October 24th.
The Ordinance exempts emergency responders performing their jobs, or members of the public trying to dial 911 to summon emergency services.
The rest of us face a fine of US$35 for a first offence, $75 the second time around and $99 for recidivists.
City councilor Brandon Elefante proposed the Ordinance as a safety measure. Fair enough too: Hawaii attracts plenty of tourists from Japan, which drives on the wrong side of the road by American standards. Throw in the fact that selfie-snapping, SMS-sending pedestrians are just plain annoying and the legislation looks like a winner.
But it may also have loopholes, as it defines a “mobile electronic device” as “any handheld or other portable electronic equipment capable of providing wireless and/or data communication between two or more persons or of providing amusement, including but not limited to a cellular phone, text messaging device, paging device, personal digital assistant, laptop computer, video game, or digital photographic device, but does not include any audio equipment.”
The Register imagines it might be possible to squeeze an early generation iPod through a loophole in that definition, as it is audio equipment and lacks networking features.
We mention that scenario in the hope that Vulture Central authorises your correspondent to visit Honolulu to test it out. I reckon it'll take a week - make that two - to do the job right, boss. ®