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Northern California lawmakers urge state to ban cell phone use in crosswalks

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Texting and driving is against the law, but soon, walking while using your phone may also be outlawed. 

"If I have a notification, or something comes up along those lines, I'll just have a look," said Habib Abdur-Rahman, visitor to San Luis Obispo. "Sometimes it's just boredom crossing the road."

San Mateo County supervisors passed a resolution Tuesday to urge state lawmakers to pass some sort of law to crack down on distracted pedestrians -- those walking across the street while glued to their cell phones. 

"I think it's an okay idea, but I think I would have a hard time with it," said Olivia Wicoff, San Luis Obispo resident. 

Others think distracted walking is a big problem that needs to be addressed. 

"I don't think its a good idea to do that when you're driving or when you're walking. It's a distraction and you could get hit by a car," said Tony Cunningham, San Luis Obispo resident. 

San Luis Obispo police agree distracted walking is an increasing problem nationwide. 

"The statistics show, vehicle versus pedestrians is high rate of death and serious injury," said Officer George Berrios, San Luis Obispo Police Department. 

Distracted walking incidents involving cell phones accounted for more than 11,000 injuries between 2000-2011, according to a 2015 National Safety Council report. In California, although not all were distracted walking related, in 2016, nearly 900 pedestrians were killed on roadways, accounting for more than 24 percent of all roadway deaths.

"I think it would be important to educate but not enforce a law," said Jessica Dimulias, San Luis Obispo resident.  

Some sort of law on the books against distracted walking is exactly what San Mateo County supervisors are hoping state lawmakers will do in an effort to make sure people are looking up, instead of down, as they cross the street.

Honolulu, Hawaii is the only major city in the U.S. that currently bans cell phone use while walking across the street.

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