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NYC lawmakers are trying to introduce fines for people who text while crossing the street

It’s just one *fine* day in New York City…

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Image: Unsplash

We all know distracted driving is a big issue for safety, but what about distracted walking? Lawmakers in New York City want to make their streets a safer place to be, with a new bill that will levy fines on pedestrians that cross the street while texting.

Starting at $25 per ticket, repeat offenders could face a bill of up to $250 per fine. Bet texting “OK” to your significant other while also crossing the road doesn’t look so attractive now, right?

In 2017, 7,450 pedestrians died in both traffic and non-traffic related accidents. With that number on the increase, it’s about time that some common-sense laws like this were introduced. The addiction to smartphone use has made us all distracted, all the time. That’s fine while at home, or sat down, but when you’re distracted in a dangerous situation, accidents happen.

The bill is sponsored by Queens State Senator, John Liu. When asked by The Gothamist to explain his support for the bill in NYC, he gave the following sound bite:

I have gotten more than my share of complaints from constituents about the problem and the suggestion that there ought to be a law. Including from parents who don’t want their kids texting while they’re walking, much less while they’re crossing the street.

To me, that quote is troubling

I’m really not sure how legislation stops kids texting while walking, pretty sure that’s the parent’s responsibility to instill good use habits. Also worryingly, the wording of the bill prohibits crossing the street “while using any portable electronic device.”

While the bill goes on to clarify that “using” means “viewing” in this situation, it could have been clearer at the outset. I mean, am I going to get fined for listening to my AirPods?

Emergency personnel, police, firefighters and doctors would be exempt from the fines. Similar legislation sponsored by Brooklyn Assemblyman, Felix Ortiz didn’t pass the NY State Assembly last year.

If only NYC had banned sexting, Andrew Weiner might not have gotten into the mess he did…

What do you think of this NYC proposal? Would you like to see a law like this in place or is this crossing the street line? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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