Next Thing To Ban: Walking While Talking On A Mobile Phone

from the no-chatting-for-you dept

Last month we pointed to some recent studies about how people walking while talking on mobile phones tend to do things that are riskier than those not talking on mobile phones and jokingly asked when politicians would start proposing bans on walking-while-talking, to go along with the popular bans on driving while talking. It didn't take long at all, actually. Parker Mason writes in to let us know that an Illinois lawmaker has proposed a ban on talking on a mobile phone while in a crosswalk. Combine that with jaywalking and you could really piss off a person who wasn't actually doing something dangerous. Actually, this isn't the first time such a thing has been proposed. Last year a similar law was proposed in New York, though I don't believe it went anywhere. It's nice that politicians want to protect people, but at some point you really have to ask why people can't take responsibilities for their own actions?


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Apr 7th, 2008 @ 6:55am

    Hmm

    I do not agree with politicians trying to remove the process of Natural Selection.

     

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  2.  
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    Dave, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 7:12am

    Responsibility?

    Why would people take responsibility for their actions when they'd end up being rich from suing some company or government for not putting a warning sticker on their cell phone telling them that talking on a cell phone can lead you to do something stupid?

     

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    Joel, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 7:32am

    Not doing something dangerous? I live by a university and twice in the past month I've had to swerve to avoid a student enthralled in a cellphone conversation, not paying attention to traffic and simply crossing the street. Perhaps we don't need actual legislation to make the action illegal, but there do remain questions. For example, what happens if someone hits the person who stepped out in front of a car on their cellphone? What happens if they are the cause of an accident? Maybe legislation exists to cover this, but it is something to think about in our increasingly litigious society.

    I don't want to be sued for killing a ped who walked into a crosswalk on a cellphone without looking.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 7:34am

    Leave it to the commie-socialist Democraps to come up with stupid laws like this.

     

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  5.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 8:11am

    Re: Responsibility?

    I would love that had the warning

    "Caution: Talking on a cell phone has been proven to cause the user to do stupid things. We are not responsible for the users stupidity."

    We need a Reckless Walking Law.

     

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    Mikey, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 8:30am

    I think people should have to take an IQ test to get a cell phone and while we're at it to be parents too.......

     

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  7.  
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    BTR1701, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 8:32am

    Re: Stupidity

    > I live by a university and twice in the past
    > month I've had to swerve to avoid a student
    > enthralled in a cellphone conversation

    Instead of swerving, you should have screeched to a halt right in front of them and blasted your horn long and loud. That probably would have woken them up.

    > what happens if someone hits the person who
    > stepped out in front of a car on their cellphone?

    The same thing that happens if you hit someone who steps out in front of your car who is *not* talking on a cell phone. We already have laws and precedent in place for this sort of thing. It's not like anything changes just because you throw a cell phone into the mix.

     

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    Evil Mike, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 8:35am

    Re: Hmm

    Natural selection is something that happens whether we legislate safety (like seatbelt laws, helmet laws, etc) or not.

    It is not possible to remove natural selection, only to redefine the "fittest" by removing certain factors and reinforcing others.

    Today, natural selection favors those with no medical problems, born into rich homes, and well able to manipulate any existing rule/law structure to their own advantage...

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 8:37am

    Re:

    And then to people who administer the IQ tests get to decide for you! How can I get to be the guy who decides whether or not you have children?!?

     

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    Pete Valle, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 8:41am

    Re: Hmm

    LOL! QFT!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Stupidity

    Why screech to a halt, take them out, serves as a clear example.

     

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    Dave S, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Stupidity

    Instead of swerving, you should have screeched to a halt right in front of them and blasted your horn long and loud. That probably would have woken them up.

    I doubt it. They'd probably just get mad and flip you off as if it was your fault they were being an idiot.

    We already have laws and precedent in place for this sort of thing. It's not like anything changes just because you throw a cell phone into the mix.

    Very true. Legislators need to get over this need to justify their existence by passing a million "doing X while Y" laws and just write good laws that are generally applicable without needing to be explicitly extended or augmented to handle every conceivable peripheral circumstance.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 9:07am

    What's next, a fine for not looking both ways before crossing?

     

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    Prodiem, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 9:10am

    Thinking opposite....

    Ok, there are traffic laws coming in to place to keep idiots from killing others while focusing on using the cell instead of driving a 6500 pound SUV 15MPH faster than the limit, making an illegal lane changes, erratic turns and other nightmares.

    How about looking at the law at the other end (Common Sense). "If you use the cell phone while doing any activity in which the distraction of the cell phone can cause injury to persons or property....."
    Instead of a law to cover idiots driving and one for walking and one for doctors in surgery, and one for forklift drivers in Costco (yes he nearly skewered me and my 3yr old daughter) we could have one law that neatly covers all these situations.
    I know there would need to be exceptions for safe use of hands free and other anti-abuse wording, but then I for one would think this would be desireable.

     

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    Keybored, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 9:44am

    Re: What happens if they are the cause of an accident?

    As the driver of the vehicle it's your fault. You should have seen them coming and been prepared to stop. Just like the a-hole who slams on his brakes ahead of you, it's your fault for the rear-ending. Better start paying attention. Was in NYC this weekend and couldn't believe how many people blindly step into the street.

     

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  16.  
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    Zaide, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 9:52am

    The problem I think we have is that with laws we've taken away natural selection, as it were, at least to a point where stupidity has been allowed to exist. These ideas for open ended, all-covering laws is well and nice (if not libertarian), but we should focus on why law makers are making these laws. They're taking a preventative approach through a counter-active means. In turn, out of trying to prevent situations, holes are being made in the system. There are deeper underlying causes for these problems in societies; that's what our focus should be on.

     

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  17.  
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    Jake, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 9:55am

    I'm generally in favour of banning drivers from using phones at the wheel -if nothing else, it gives the police the power to pull such idiots over and give them a ticket and a stern lecture before they cause a wreck- but I really don't see the point of applying it to pedestrians; they're unlikely to cause injury to anyone but themselves, and it'd be hard to enforce with the current trend away from intensive foot patrols in law enforcement.

     

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  18.  
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    Xiera, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 9:58am

    Protection

    I'm not so sure that this is to protect the people who are walking-and-talking as much as it is to protect the drivers. As much as it goes against my common sense (and physics...), the driver is held responsible (more often than not) if a pedestrian walks/runs/strolls/tangos out in front of a car and gets hit. A law such as this would shift the blame back to the pedestrian who stupidly tried to stop a car with his body to begin with (if he was talking on a cell phone).

    In all seriousness, though, a teenage girl was hit and killed in my town because she crossed the road while talking on a cell phone. At what point should people start to take responsibility for themselves? I would argue that people should always take responsibility for themselves, and if they make a bad decision (ie, crossing the street without paying attention), the consequences should rest on them, not the driver who hit them.

     

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  19.  
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    anon, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: What happens if they are the cause of an accident?

    Incorrect.

    At least, where I live. Was driving through Minneapolis a few years back and hit a chick crossing against a light.

    I was 3 cars back in the middle lane at a red light. Light turned green and we started moving. The cars to the left did *not* start moving. Got to the crosswalk doing about 15 MPH and this chick step right out in front of me, catches my bumper in her legs, does a header into my windshield, bounces, and lands about 10 feet into the middle of the intersection as I screech to a halt, the memory of her face-plant on my windshield burned into my brain for the rest of my life.

    After a cell call and 20 minutes of talking to the cops, we continued on our way to the Nirvana - Breeders - Shonen Knife concert....late.

    AFAIK, she survived, but I am not entirely sure as I never heard about it again. Insurance took care of the damage to my vehicle, rates did not go up.

    Point being, I was never ticketed, fined, summoned, or otherwise harassed by the legal system for someone else's complete and utter stupidity.

     

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  20.  
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    boost, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:07am

    Chicago Politicians...

    Chicago...err, I mean Illinois is really the worst state in the Union. I hate living here with these liberal Chicago politicians making life worse for everyone. Can I have some civil liberties back, please?

     

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  21.  
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    anon, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:08am

    Re:

    The test is taken after the fact.

    If they survive, they pass. ;)

     

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  22.  
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    JLE, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:12am

    ?

    You'd think in a multi-tasking obsessed society, legislation shouldn't need to monitor something so simple as walking and talking simultaneously. Next it will be walking while talking to someone else who is present. Then it will be walking at all. Or driving. Forget it, we'll just never leave the house.

     

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  23.  
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    Boost, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Stupidity

    No kidding...I actually had a semi truck driver almost run me over while I was bicycling through an intersection on a country road (I had the right of way) and then got mad at me when he finally saw me. Of course, I had yelled at him loud enough so he could have heard me through his open window to "Pay Attention!!!".

     

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  24.  
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    DRM Suxx, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:14am

    Too Many Laws

    The problem with additional legislation is where does it end? There are an infinite number of scenarios in which person X does Y with Z as an added factor. We need less laws which are broader in scope, not more that are narrower. If you step in front of a moving vehicle (and you don't have right of way) because you are an idiot, you deal with the consequences. If you legislate against cell phone use, then it logically follows that iPods are banned as well, and newspapers then books. What about lattes? Some idiot steps in front of your car because the barista put too much foam in his macchiato? What about hotdogs? Mustard is a hugs distraction. Can I carry flowers to my girlfriend (hey, this rose is wilting). It just keeps spiraling down.

    How about one law that says if you are distracted you can't cross the street?

     

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  25.  
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    anon, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:16am

    Re: Protection

    "As much as it goes against my common sense (and physics...), the driver is held responsible (more often than not) if a pedestrian walks/runs/strolls/tangos out in front of a car and gets hit"

    I would wager that's only true if the majority of these accidents/injuries are due to the driver not paying attention or otherwise breaking motor vehicle laws (crossing against a red, etc.)

    Even on the news I rarely see the driver charged in an accidental car vs. ped showdown, only when the driver was doing something stupid (Bus driver backing over a kid he just let off, running a light, taking out a bicycler for fun and profit, etc...)

     

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  26.  
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    Nicko, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Re: What happens if they are the cause of an accident?

    Its varies from state to state. In California if you hit a pedestrian under almost any circumstances your pretty much screwed, thus why all people come to a stop if a pedestrian sets foot in a road (yes as a Chicagoan I've had fun with this before).

    In Illinois it depends on the circumstances, but it usually favors the driver (basically if you want to cross against a light you better be good at frogger). Every so often In downtown Chicago you hear of people getting flattened by a bus or a cab that takes a turn to sharp and hits someone on the edge of a curb.

     

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  27.  
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    anon, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Stupidity

    Heh... biking.

    When I was a kid (Jr. High), I was biking on a Saturday and was sitting at a red, waiting for it to turn green.

    ...light goes green, I start pedaling just as my Jr. High principle pulls *out* of the (now stopped) straight-lane into the turn lane and hits me.

    Gotta love it.

    Call it karma, as the day before I was in his office for pushing a kid down a flight of stairs.

     

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  28.  
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    anon, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What happens if they are the cause of an accident?

    ...starting to like Chicago.

     

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  29.  
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    Haywood, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:48am

    I don't want them fined or punished

    I just want the blame for the eventual death or injury laid at their feet. I drive and I walk, I've done both for nearly 60 years with very few incidents, those which did occur were nearly all my fault or at least partly so. I'd also like them or their estate to be responsible for any damage to my car.
    I do realize the potential for abuse, people might start carrying "throw-down" phones, like the cops always have a throw-down gun in case they shoot an unarmed civilian.

     

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  30.  
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    CVPunk, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:49am

    WTF?

    I like how some people try to blame these laws on "liberals" or "Commie democrats". Yeah, because a republipuke would never legislate laws that take away our freedoms...well except for that huge one called the "patriot act". How about just calling them what they are? stupid ass politicians..dem or repub.

     

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  31.  
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    TheDock22, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 10:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What happens if they are the cause of an accident?

    Its varies from state to state. In California if you hit a pedestrian under almost any circumstances your pretty much screwed, thus why all people come to a stop if a pedestrian sets foot in a road (yes as a Chicagoan I've had fun with this before).

    Same thing in MT. Our driver's manual even says "Pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way". Then again, I haven't heard of any people getting hit by drivers in MT. Our biggest city has about 100,000 people in it, so it's pretty easy to see where pedestrians are and swerve out of the way if need be.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 11:14am

    Re: ?

    Then they will make a law against sitting still and getting bed sores

     

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  33.  
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    M., Apr 7th, 2008 @ 11:28am

    phones while walking

    I agree with Killer_tofu... The government has no business tampering with natural selection!!! YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID!

     

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  34.  
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    Allana, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re: Re: What happens if they are the cause of an accident?

    You don't live in California, where the illegal excuse me undocumented alien pushing a stolen shopping cart piled high with aluminum cans and recyclables, also stolen, jaywalks across a busy street and is hit by a car. He becomes one rich son of a bitch, even if he's not seriously injured, because the auto insurer of the driver just wants to pay the bum off to make the charges go away.

     

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  35.  
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    CVPunk, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 11:48am

    yeah, that's it....

    you figured it out Allana. All of this stems from "undocumented" people in California trying to scam the auto insurers. Wow, now I can sleep easy at night. Thanks.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 11:53am

    I hope they pass that law! If people have too little time to sit down and talk on the phone, then that should be thier problem. PEOPLE SHOULDNT HAVE TO DRIVE ANOTHER PERSON BECAUSE THAT PERSON IS DUMB!!!

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 11:56am

    Re: Hmm

    Agreed.

    I'm honestly starting to think that humanity's capability to effectively ignore natural selection and other evolutionary processes may eventually screw us.

    For the non-

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Hmm

    freaking laptop . ..

    Still getting used to the touchpad.


    ANYWAYS:

    "For the non-" God believe types, it should be a little disturbing anyways, especially that because something is legislated humans tend to (usually) obey it "because it is the law."

    For the God believers, all I can say is what is always said. Science doesn't mean God doesn't exist, it just means "where is the hard _scientific_ proof?"

     

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  39.  
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    Doc, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 12:02pm

    Agreed

    The military already did it, why not ban it? People are hazzards whether walking or driving and there is always going to be some idiot who needs to get those last 3 words in before stepping out in front of a semi.

     

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  40.  
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    Kevin, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 1:21pm

    Responsibility for your own actions!

    "at some point you really have to ask why people can't take
    responsibilities for their own actions?"

    Exactly, Walking while distracted by a mobile phone may be slightly more risky than without, but still if talking on a mobile phone compared to talking to a real person, the distraction is still there.
    So you can't ban people from talking and walking, thats what the mobile phone is for!
    Driving is a different story, though.

     

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  41.  
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    Marketing en Internet, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 4:59pm

    risky walks

    Well, no doubt that doing something else while talking on a mobile phone can cause accidents if you do not concentrate well in your task. Cooking, Walking or driving.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 7:18pm

    Well... Since we're banning dangerous acts and protecting people, I think we should introduce a legislation to ban sex. It will cut down STD's and HIV. Think of how many people will be protected from disease and death by this legislation.

    LOL.

     

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  43.  
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    Jake, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 6:59am

    Re: Responsibility for your own actions!

    I did hear of some research done that says talking on the phone whilst driving is actually a lot more dangerous than talking to someone in the passenger seat, even with a hands-free kit, ostensibly because the passenger can usually judge when to pipe down and let the driver concentrate. It is not a great leap of reasoning to infer that this probably applies to most other activities.

     

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  44.  
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    Just Me, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 7:34am

    Re: # 42

    "Think of how many people will be protected from disease and death by this legislation."
    If I had to take a quick guess I'd say 100%! No more sex means a generation from now there will be zero human deaths!!
    I Like It!
    *thumbs up

     

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  45.  
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    Jennifer Carole, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 11:43am

    The "dangers" of texting..

    So interesting. I just posted a video on our blog (www.teenlab.blogspot.com) about walking while texting done for a UK education campaign aimed at teens. The short video is pretty disturbing and does make a point about how focused we can be with our screens. I don't think we need a law, but awareness - on all levels - wouldn't hurt.

     

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  46.  
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    louis, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 5:35am

    yes yes yes

    if you get hit walking across the street on a cell phone no one should call 911 no one should help you and your health insurance shouldn't pay any hospital bills you get. and the driver should get a 1000$ bonus for helping aide in the process of natural selection.

    i had 5 little kids (like 12 to 14) walk out in front of me on a main road the other day and they know who i am and don't like who i am going out with. so when the one boy crossed on to the other side of the road where i went to get around them i wasn't going to go over move to the left to avoid him. if hes is stupid enough to walk in the way of the car then what im i suppose to do.


    | me:boys |
    the : being the line on the middle of the road.

     

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  47.  
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    Alex, Feb 27th, 2009 @ 1:41am

    CRAP

    CAR BEETS PODESTRIAN EVERY TIME YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO CROSS A ROAD I DID IM STILL LIVING I CROSS ROADS WHEN IM TALKING ON MY PHONE ALL THE TIME YOU ARE JUST RETARDED CHIKINS THAT NEED TO USE YOUR MONEY ON SOMETHING USEFULL FOR ONCE

    PS WHAT ARE THEY DOING STOOD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD MAKING A PHONE CALL SILLY BASTARDS! PLUS I CANT SPEEL SO THATS WHY I FIND VERBAL COMMUNICATION IMPORTANTANT AMD I SHOULD BE ABLE TO WALK AND TALK ALL THE TIME OR I WILL DIE.

    NOW I SHALL END WITH A QUOTE FROM TEAM AMERICA ... "FREEDEM ISN'T FREE IT COST FOKES LIKE YOU AND ME"

     

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