Sound Off: Should Distracted Walkers Be Fined or Jailed?
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It can be frustrating and dangerous when someone who pays more attention to his or her phone rather than walking is coming right at you and you have to get out of the way, let alone being stuck behind someone walking and texting.
Soon texting or talking while walking might be more than just annoying -- it could be illegal in New Jersey.
Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt has suggested a law to penalize distracted walkers. Under the legislation, distracted walkers would be fined $50 or jailed for up to 15 days, Digital Trends reports. There are no details on if or when lawmakers will vote on the bill. New Jersey currently has a law against distracted driving, which makes it illegal to use handheld phones or text while driving.
Statistics support the need to cut down on interferences while walking. Texting, talking and even listening to music can lead to injury or death. Philly.com reports that from 2009 to 2013, pedestrian fatalities have increased 15 percent, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association released last year, and the number has grown since then. The same report said that smartphone use was a factor in almost 2 million pedestrian injuries. Moreover, a National Safety Council report estimated that distracted-walking incidents involving phones accounted for 11,101 injuries from 2000 through 2011, according to the New York Post.
“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.”Similar bills have been defeated in other states, including New York, Illinois, Nevada and Arkansas. But we want to know: Would you be in favor of fines lobbied against people who text while walking? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.