A small town in California is fining people $100 for looking at their phone while crossing the street

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  • Montclair, California, has implemented a local law banning “distracted walking.”
  • Anyone looking at their screen while crossing the street is liable for a fine.
  • It’s $US100 for the first time, then $US200, then $US500 after that.
  • You can also get stung for talking on the phone or listening to music.

A small town west of Los Angeles is fining people $US100 for crossing the street while staring at their phones.

Montclair, which is around 30 miles from central LA, has passed a so-called “distracted walking” law, which mandates officials to issue fines to people they see focussing on their screen instead of the road.

Anybody who breaks the ordinance, Municipal Code 8.28.020 (A), will be fined $US100 the first time, $US200 the second time, and $US500 a time after that.

You can also fall foul of the rule by taking a call on your phone, or crossing the street while listening to music.

The official City of Montclair website runs a page explaining the new law, which includes this explanatory graphic:

Montclair adCity of Montclair

The law has been in effect since January 3, but seems to have gone unnoticed for its first couple of months.

Montclair’s new idea got widespread coverage this week, however, with city figures speaking out to defend it.

Jon Hamilton, who’s in charge of Montclair’s administration services, told the LA Times: “We had been discussing this issue, just safety in general, as we’re seeing people blindly walking across the street, staring at their phones without paying attention.

“It’s an issue that has become more and more prevalent based on the increased usage of mobile phones, particularly among younger residents.”

Others pointed out that similar laws already exist elsewhere, including one in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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