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Southern California city bans texting while crossing street

By Ben Hooper
Southern California city bans texting while crossing street
A California city has implemented new rules banning pedestrians from using their phones while walking across the street. Photo by Skylines/Shutterstock.com

Feb. 27 (UPI) -- A Southern California city posted a notice on its website reminding residents of a new ordinance outlawing a dangerous behavior -- texting while walking.

The City of Montclair posted a notice on its website informing residents that an ordinance took effect at the beginning of this year barring pedestrians from looking down at their phones while crossing a street.

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The ordinance doesn't just ban texting -- residents are also not allowed to talk on the phone or have headphones in both ears while crossing the road.

"Like drivers, pedestrians have always been engaged in multi-tasking behavior such as the use of handheld phones, music listening devices, and other electronic devices," the notice on the city's website reads. "The effects of such behavior can relate to that of a distracted driver. Distracted drivers differ from distracted pedestrians in the fact that distracted driving has policies and interventions in place to improve safety, where such safety measures are not in effect for pedestrians."

City Manager Edward Starr said he got the idea from a similar ordinance passed last year in Honolulu.

"The youth admit that they are distracted by their cellphones," Starr told the Los Angeles Times. "This has turned out to be a reminder for them that their lives are on the line."

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Starr said that currently the only penalty for a violation is a warning, but police will start handing out fines in August. The ordinance calls for a $100 fine for a first-time violation, $200 for a second violation within 12 months and $500 for each subsequent violation.

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