Honolulu Becomes The First City to Ban Distracted Walking

Every driver has experienced that moment of fear when proceeding through an intersection or sidewalk crosswalk, and seeing a pedestrian walking toward the road looking while down at their phone. You do not know whether the pedestrian understands where they are relative to the road and will stop accordingly, or if they will proceed to walk through because they are too distracted by their phone. “Distracted walking” is dangerous for both drivers and pedestrians, and cellphones are far and beyond the primary cause of it. According to a study published by the University of Maryland, 11,000 injuries phone-related injuries have occurred as the result of distraction, between 2000 and 2011. Honolulu, Hawaii has sought to become the first US city to pass legislation in effort to eradicate this problem.

Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

According to Reuters, effective October 25, 2017, Honolulu has banned pedestrians from looking at their phone while crossing the street. If a police officer catches a pedestrian walking while distracted, they can be fined anywhere from $15 to $99 depending on how long they were looking down at their phone. Understandably, emergency calls are exempt from the ban.

This distracted pedestrian act has set out to address the fact that distracted driving is not only the problem, but that distracted walking also poses many dangers as well. Kirk Caldwell, Mayor of Honolulu, addressed the reason for the law by telling reporters, “we hold the unfortunate distinction of being a major city with more pedestrians being hit in crosswalks, particularly our seniors, than almost any city in the country.” 

While Honolulu is the first American city to begin addressing this distracted pedestrian issue, they are not alone alone outside the United States. Large cities “across the pond” such as London, England and Augsburg, Germany have begun experimenting on how to curb distracted walking in their own right. London has begun wrapping pads around lampposts to cushion the impact in the event that a distracted pedestrian walks directly into one. As the Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog previously informed readers, Augsburg has installed traffic signals in the ground, so that they are visible to pedestrians whose are looking downward while using their phone.

Michigan Distracted Driving Car Crash Lawyer

While most can agree that Honolulu's attempt to protect pedestrians from being involved in pedestrian car accidents is a good idea, there are adversaries to this distracted walking bill. Honolulu resident Ben Robinson, claims that the bill infringes on personal freedom and encompasses government overreach. Robinson wanted to see the law repealed by telling the city council through written testimony, saying he wants the government to "scrap this intrusive bill, provide more education to citizens about responsible electronics usage, and allow law enforcement to focus on larger issues.”

Whether one agrees or disagrees with a law banning pedestrians from crossing the street while looking at their phones, it is undeniable that distracted walking presents many dangers to pedestrians walking along busy roads. Anyone walking down Woodward, Avenue in Michigan can tell you how often they've almost been hit by a car! Only time will tell however, if other large cities, including Detroit, Michigan, decide to follow Honolulu and pass distracted walking bans of their own.

In the meantime, look up from your phone when crossing the street! Whatever text you are sending or article you are reading can wait. Pedestrian safety is more important.


Pedestrians who cross busy without paying attention to traffic because they are consumed by their phones, are a danger to themselves and motorists. Pedestrians must be careful when crossing the street, and they must understand that whatever may be on their phone is not as important as their safety and can surely wait. Have you been in an accident involving distracted behavior? Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Pens and Pencils Banned At 36th District Court in Detroit

Guns, knifes, drugs, and alcohol. That's a list of things that are banned in every courthouse in the country, and for good reason. The 36th District Court in Detroit, Michigan however, is adding some far more innocent items to that list. Pens, pencils, and markers!

36th District Court Detroit Lawyer

Yes, pens and pencils and markers. While banning these writing utensils from schools would be even more ludicrous (though students may rejoice), banning them from courthouses seems counter productive. After all, so much paperwork is involved in going to court. From paying for parking tickets, to taking notes in hearings, to filling out court documents about landlord-tenant disputes, pens and pencils are a vital to 

Of course banning writing tools all together wouldn't be fruitful for carrying out business at the court house, which is why attorneys and credentialed press members will be allowed to carry writing instruments. As for the courthouse itself, each of the 26 courtrooms now stock clipboard with irremovable pens attached to them. 

While this ban may seems like a joke to those who are hearing about it for the first time, there is a legitimate reason behind it. The 36th District Court has several murals depicting Detroit's skyline, the city itself, and symbols of justice. The murals went up not even a week ago but have already been vandalized. Court Administrator Kelli Moore Owen told The Detroit News that "the wall coverings are the latest improvements to the five-story courthouse in the last couple of years. There’s fresh paint, new fencing and signage, and a power washing of the building’s exterior for the first time since 1985. We are trying to project a better image." 

Detroit Vandalism Lawyer

A look at the list of prohibited items on the court's website shows that pens, pencils, and markers will have plenty of company alongside other banned items such as, batteries, can openers, combs, dental floss, whistles, smart watches, and of course food and beverages. It's an eclectic list for sure, but safety is no laughing matter.

While some citizens may be disappointed that they won't be able to bring their curling iron or pet bedbugs with them to the 36th District Court, other citizens of Detroit will be thankful that because those items are banned, they can avoid burns and courthouse fires and skin-breaking itching.


The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC handles all types of personal injury cases, including, but not limited to, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, dog bites, slip and fall, and medical provider lawsuits. Call us today at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.