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Should Los Angeles Ban Distracted Walking?

Distracted driving has become an increasingly hot button issue as more and more fatalities are chalked up to texting or other cell phone use. In an effort to protect pedestrians, should more of Los Angeles crack down on pedestrians crossing streets and driveways unsafely? In January 2018 Montclair, California enacted a ‘distracted walking’ law with fines in excess of $100 after the first offense. Speaking with CBS Local, Los Angeles city officials noted that 15% of all vehicle-related fatalities involve pedestrians. Up to date information on Montclair’s city ordinance can be found at

Other Municipalities Follow

A similar act in Honolulu is in place, police officers will begin handing out $35 tickets in October to pedestrians crossing the street while using their phones. These fines will increase to $75 and $99 dollars for second and third offenses respectively. But will this solve Honolulu’s problem of pedestrian fatalities, or any other city’s pedestrian accident issue if they were to adopt the distracted walking ban? Or would a different ban be more effective?

LA’s Previous Attempts to Save Pedestrians

Los Angeles has tried numerous ways to better secure pedestrians and reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities. Expensive jaywalking tickets were issued to pedestrians crossing in front of traffic to curb the behavior. Now road diets and pedestrian zones with safer curbs are being installed using tax payer dollars to reduce the likelihood of a pedestrian fatality. Yet, pedestrian accidents continue to occur. On July 30th, as many as nine people may have been injured by a van that ran up on sidewalk in Mid-Wilshire. Thankfully, nobody was killed in the incident. While this is not a pedestrian crossing accident, it begs to question how effective these pedestrian laws can be when ultimately, it is the driver and vehicle that are doing the damage. As these pedestrian and bicyclist safety projects continue to develop across the greater Los Angeles area, we can all do our part to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents.


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