A New Jersey lawmaker eyes making walking while texting against the law, as data indicates distracted walking injuries are mounting today across the globe. The rise of pedestrian deaths in recent years appears to coincide with the dawn of personal electronic devices.
As with any new technology, the side effects play out until they become overwhelming and laws are created to halt the dangers and aggravations that come with it! This was seen with cell phone use as people carried on conversations everywhere, but the distractions this led to prompted signs of “no cell phone use” popping up everywhere.
According to MSN News on March 26, as far as distracted walking goes, New Jersey is one of many states taking aim at this fairly new phenomenon. Bills have been introduced by states that target pedestrians and/or bicyclists, but none have passed so far with some bills even being shot-down.
You have seen the funny videos of people falling into fountains, bumping into doors and falling flat on their face off a curb because they were distracted by texting. While they appear funny, many folks are getting hurt or hurting others who they walk into. News Max reports today that a New Jersey lawmaker is out to “punish people texting while walking.”
New Jersey Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt has proposed a measure that would ban walking while texting. It would also and “bar pedestrians on public roads from using electronic communication devices unless they are hands-free,” reports MSN News. If this law materializes and you are caught walking and texting, you could face fines of up to $50, 15 days imprisonment or both. Believe it or not, this is the same penalty that comes along with jaywalking in New Jersey.
Lampitt explained her reasoning for introducing this measure for a vote. She said, “Distracted pedestrians, like distracted drivers, present a potential danger to themselves and drivers on the road,” Lampitt said. “An individual crossing the road distracted by their smartphone presents just as much danger to motorists as someone jaywalking and should be held, at minimum, to the same penalty.”
As with any new proposal, there is usually arguments for both sides and this bill is no different. Many think that the government is getting way too involved in what people do today. Jaywalking involves walking into traffic, or potentially being in the way of traffic, but texting and walking on a sidewalk is different. Others say they understand where Lampitt is coming from, but ask if we really want to police people over this. Then there are others who are all for it.
The statistics certainly back up Lampitt’s reasoning. Lampitt cited a National Safety Council report that shows an estimated 11,101 injuries from 2000 through 2011 were due to distracted walking incidents involving cellphones. A date for a hearing on Lampitt’s proposed New Jersey measure has not been set as of yet.
Again, along with new technology that is available to the masses, comes problems to iron out. The same thing is happening now that drones have become available to the average Joe. Drone use has the individual states scrambling to define the ownership of airspace over your property. This came after a man taking aim and shooting at a drone flying over his property. Peeping Tom drones are becoming prevalent, so now laws need to be put in place.