If you text while walking around Fort Lee, New Jersey, you'll be fined $85, thanks to a new law that, yes, bans texting while walking. More than 117 people have been caught red-handed (text-handed?) since March.
Fort Lee's police chief said texting while walking was "a big distraction," and The Huffington Post notes that there were 74 crashes involving pedestrians last year and three people have already been killed this year in the area. However! That information comes from an article about jaywalking, not about texting while walking; it seems more likely that the driver was distracted, not the pedestrian.
Do I sound defensive? Maybe so; I text while walking all of the time. (But I'm really good at it! I can even text without looking down at my screen! Plus, I never do it while in the middle of the crosswalk...) We can all agree that texting while driving is very Bad with a capital B: how can you control a vehicle going 60 miles an hour — or even 20 — while Googling "best happy hours" or sending your friend emoji? But even in the few gaffes that are so hilarious they go viral on Youtube, texting while walking will almost always lead to embarrassment, not physical harm.
Plus, if we ban texting while walking, what's next? New York State Senator Carl Kruger, who has been trying to ban texting while walking in New York but has thus far been unsuccessful, hopes to one day prohibit talking on your cellphone or using iPods while walking or running. Which I feel is going too far? I'm not one to shit talk government intervention, but seriously, please don't take away my right to occasionally text my friends while walking down the street. At the very worst, I might trip over a fire hydrant and then you can all reserve the right to point and laugh hysterically.
Image via pond5/alexh.