Texting on the crosswalk in NY will result in $50 fine under new bill

Brittany A. Roston - May 20, 2019, 2:50 pm CDT
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Texting on the crosswalk in NY will result in $50 fine under new bill

Texting while walking has resulted in a number of incidents that could have been prevented if the individual was paying attention to their surroundings. Many of these accidents have been caught on video, and though some are comical and benign, others are tragic and frustrating, particularly ones involving traffic and the potential for serious bodily injury. New York City may address that latter issue by enacting rules against texting on crosswalks.

Pedestrian crossing areas on public roads have proven problematic in a world where everyone has a smartphone. Individuals have wandered into traffic while staring at their phone instead of their surroundings, and concepts — including green and red light bars on the ground near crosswalks — have been developed to address the problem.

New York is eyeing a traditional and typically effective way to curb this activity: fines if you’re caught staring at your phone while crossing the road. The restriction would be part of a bill that was first introduced last year; it states, simply enough, ‘No pedestrian shall cross a roadway at any point while using any portable electronic device.’

The language obviously forbids the use of other non-smartphone devices, as well, though it’s doubtful there’s a substantial issue with other gadgets being used on the road. Politicians supporting the bill point toward multiple issues that can and have happened due to texting while crossing, including being hit by a car due to a lack of situational awareness and tripping over items in the road, increasing one’s odds of being run over.

Under the legislation, first time offenders would be fined between $25 and $50, with the only exception being in cases of emergency, where the action would be excused. Though some have praised the bill as a potential way to cut down on the increasingly disruptive action of texting while walking, critics have called the plan an overreach of government, instead encouraging other, less punitive, prevention strategies.


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