Honolulu ban on texting while crossing the street now in effect

Honolulu began enforcing a new law on Wednesday that bans the practice of viewing a “mobile electronic device” while crossing a street or highway.

The Hawaiian capital is the largest city to impose such a restriction in an effort to reduce pedestrian deaths, which were up nearly 10 percent nationwide in 2016 due in part to distractions caused by the use of electronic devices.

The so-called "Cross and Text" law doesn’t prevent people from talking on the devices, just looking at them, and exempts those communicating with emergency services and emergency responders on the job.

Fines for first time violators are set at $15 to $35, while second offenses within the same 12-month period can be fined $35 to $75 and any subsequent ones $75 to $99.