Banning Texting While Walking Might Be a Bit Much

Illustration for article titled Banning Texting While Walking Might Be a Bit Much

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.

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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.

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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.

Texting While Walking Ban: Fort Lee Imposes $85 Fines On Dangerous Texters [Huffington Post]

Image via pond5/alexh.

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DISCUSSION

As a pedestrian who was hit by a car (on a crosswalk) just about a year ago (if I had one more step I would have been killed), I am opposed to this law. Drivers are responsible for the two ton hunk of metal they are driving and as the party that can cause infinitely more damage they hold infinitely more responsibility. In areas where there are sidewalks I doubt the speedlimit is over 35mph, which means there is plenty of time and distance to see a pedestrian and stop/hit your horn.

For those curious, the woman who hit me was speeding, did not use her horn or hit her breaks, had over 100 feet to see me as she was in the 3rd lane of a 4 lane roundabout and clipped my right side. I don't remember what the signal said, but in PA the driver is always at fault, I have not taken her to court.