Two States Considering Outlawing Texting While Walking
New York and Arkansas don’t have much in common but they are both considering measures designed to prevent pedestrians from ‘walking while distracted’:
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Lawmakers in at least two states are looking to pull the plug on texting pedestrians and iPod-obsessed runners, claiming their diverted attention borders on disaster.
After targeting drivers who paid more attention to their phone calls and text messages than the road, lawmakers in Arkansas and New York are now looking to crack down on pedestrians equally distracted by their own electronic gadgets.
Lawmakers in both states have proposed restrictions on using cell phones and music players such as iPods by people running and walking on the street or sidewalk. The apparent message: Distracted pedestrians are dangerous.
“It’s not just distracted drivers. We focus a lot on distracted drivers, but we also need to focus on distracted walkers and joggers,” said Jonathan Adkins, a spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association, a nonprofit organization representing state highway safety offices.
The proposal in Arkansas would ban pedestrians from wearing headphones in both ears while on, parallel or adjacent to a street, road, intersection or highway. The measure also applies to runners and cyclists and would allow pedestrians to wear headphones in one ear.
“You might not get the full effect of the Boston Symphony Orchestra with one ear, but you at least will be aware of your surroundings,” said Sen. Jimmy Jeffress, a Democrat from Crossett who proposed the legislation.
Democratic State Sen. Carl Kruger in New York has been trying since 2007 to ban the use of cell phones, iPods and other gadgets by pedestrians in major cities while crossing the street. The proposal would ban the use of an electronic device while crossing the crosswalk in a city with a population of one million or more. Violators would face a $100 civil fine.
The only question I have to ask it how it could possibly be a good use of resources to have police walking around looking for people sending email on their Crackberries.