Honolulu just banned the use of cell phones in intersections - here's how cities around the world are battling the 'distracted walking' epidemic

texting walking prankPedestrians walk through an &quote-lane" Monday, April 2, 2012, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter used April Fool's Day to have a little fun with what he says is a real problem: distracted walking.AP

On Wednesday, Honolulu became the first major city to ban the use of cell phones in intersections. Pedestrians who text or check their phones while crossing the streets in the Hawaiian capital will now get a $35 fine. A second offense is a $75 ticket, and $99 for a third.

Mayor Kirk Caldwall cited the city's unusually high rate of pedestrian deaths among senior citizens as the reason for the law, according to Reuters.

Honolulu's move follows other recent efforts from cities around the world to curb distracted walking. In the US, the number of pedestrians killed in traffic has been rising since 2006, with an 11% spike in 2016. Other researchers say phones account for 10% of pedestrian injuries, and a half-dozen deaths a year. A 2013 study revealed that over 1,500 pedestrians landed in emergency rooms in 2010 because of accidents sustained while texting and walking at the same time - up nearly 500% since 2005.

Several cities, some with limited success, have come up ideas to tackle the issue. Check them out below.

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Apps that know when texters are walking into an intersection

Apps that know when texters are walking into an intersection

There are also apps that try to tackle texting while walking. Type n Walk lets users text while the camera shows them what's ahead. (Although it doesn't work with iMessage.) The app Audio Aware pauses music if it detects a siren or screeching tires.

In 2015, Rutgers University engineers designed an app that senses when people using phones are walking into traffic, according to The Wall Street Journal. When they do, it locks their phone screens. Currently, there are two different versions: one that taps into a phone's GPS and another that works with shoe sensors.

Honolulu, Hawaii — a fine up to $99

Honolulu, Hawaii — a fine up to $99

On October 23, Honolulu's law against texting while walking went into effect.

Mayor Kirk Caldwall said that the city's "unfortunate distinction of being a major city with more pedestrians being hit in crosswalks, particularly our seniors, than almost any other city in the county," as the primary reason for the mandate, according to Reuters.

Salt Lake City, Utah — a $50 fine

Salt Lake City, Utah — a $50 fine

In 2012, the Utah Transit Authority instituted a $50 civil fine for "distracted walking," including phone use, while crossing Salt Lake City's light rail tracks. Repeat offenses could cost $100. The ordinance never become state law, however.

The mandate might be working.

"Anecdotally, it has changed the way people behave, and they are [crossing the street] the right way more often," UTA General Manager Mike Allegra told The Salt Lake Tribune.

Augsburg, Germany — embedded lights in the sidewalks

Augsburg, Germany — embedded lights in the sidewalks

In 2016, city officials in Augsburg, Germany installed red lights on its sidewalks near tram tracks so that phone users wouldn't need to look up.

"It creates a whole new level of attention," city spokeswoman Stephanie Lermen told local outlet NTV.

Hong Kong, China — anti-phone announcements in subways

Hong Kong, China — anti-phone announcements in subways

Since 2013, passengers who ride Hong Kong's subways have heard the announcement, "Don't keep your eyes only on your mobile phone."

The phrase is read by a monotone voice in three languages on both the train cars and escalators.

Chongqing, China — a lane only for phone users

Chongqing, China — a lane only for phone users

A popular stretch of sidewalk in Chongqing, China was designated for phone users in September 2014.

The project was meant to encourage people to be more mindful of their phone use.

Predictably, it's not been so successful. Hordes of people are stopping to take photos of the special sidewalk, BBC News reported.

Hayward, California — signs that tell pedestrians to put down their phones

Hayward, California — signs that tell pedestrians to put down their phones

The city of Hayward, California installed seven snarky signs in early 2015, including one that reads, "Heads up! Cross the street, then update Facebook."

Another sign in the series reminded drivers to slow down, reading "35 mph — it's a speed limit, not a suggestion."

Stockholm, Sweden — signs that warn drivers of texting pedestrians

Stockholm, Sweden — signs that warn drivers of texting pedestrians

Swedish designers Jacob Sempler and Emil Tiismann created these traffic signs for Stockholm in November 2015.

"One morning when I walked to work, I almost got run over by a car, because I was staring at my stupid smartphone," 29-year-old Sempler previously told Business Insider. "I looked around and realized that I wasn't the only one."

They were installed in three different locations.

"The thing is though, that the people who really need to see this sign, are most likely just gonna pass it with their eyes glued to their screens," he said.

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