Texting While Crossing The Street? In New York, You Might Get Fined For It



It does not matter how important a text is – you shouldn’t cross the street with your eyes glued to the phone for all the obvious reasons. Is it really worth risking your life for a text you can wait a few seconds for?

Some pedestrians seem believe that – we’ve all witnessed someone who’s done it before. Even some of us might be guilty of having done it once or twice but New York has had enough of it. 

New York State Sen. John Liu has introduced a new bill last week that plans to ban texting while walking. The pedestrians might risk getting fined anywhere from $25 to $250 if they are spotted using their smartphones when crossing the street. 

It’s hard not to notice the number of people texting while walking, and downright alarming to see people continuing their texting while crossing the street,” John Liu told CNN “We want New Yorkers to know it’s OK to wait the 5 seconds.

That doesn’t mean just texting – the bill makes it clear that it means just looking at the device, playing games on it, sending emails and more. The only ones who are exempt from the fines are emergency first-responders and the people who are contacting hospitals and other emergency services. 

However, Marco Conner, interim executive director of Transportation Alternatives, does not agree with the bill and openly opposes it.

According to him, the rise in pedestrian fatalities across the nation is actually ‘believed to be driver-related’ and that introducing a bill that regulates the use of smartphones is not really a valid answer to the problem.

Regulating vehicle speeds and reducing the overall number of vehicles that drive around on the busy New York streets, according to Conner, would make a more significant change. 

Chair of the Senate Transport Committee, Sen. Tim Kennedy, has also stated that he does not support the bill “in its current form” and that he prioritizes  “the protection and security of all New Yorkers” but that it also appears to him as though the bill is “an overreach of government.

A new report created by the Governors Highway Safety Association in 2019 estimated that 6,227 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2018, which is the highest number recorded in 30 years. The report stated that “the large growth in smartphone use” might be the reason, though it has refrained from stating that with certainty. 

Liu insisted that just proposing the bill might make a difference though: “Sometimes even proposing legislation reminds people of common sense things to do and common-sense things not to do,” he said.”If nothing else, the mere introduction of this bill has got people talking and thinking.

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