ER Doctors Warn About Walking While Texting; When Will We Start Seeing Laws?

from the they're-coming dept

Anyone want to take a guess on when we'll see the first laws proposed to ban the practice of walking-while-texting? We've already seen a few proposals that would ban walking and talking in a crosswalk. And, to add some fuel to the fire, some ER doctors are warning people who walk and text at the same time that it's risky behavior. The doctors say they're seeing a rise in reports of people walking and texting at the same time, leading to some sort of injury, including two people who were hit by a car after paying more attention to their phone than oncoming traffic. Since technopanics always seem to start with a news article, just wait for someone to propose a law against this -- rather than insisting that perhaps it's time to institute a little common sense. Update: Apparently, I'm too late. At least one state has already proposed just such a law.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Tortel, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 6:20am

    Life and Death

    You know, the most common cause of death is life. Maybe we should make laws against that too.

     

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  2.  
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    Rose M. Welch, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 6:21am

    Oh, the horror!

    Are you saying that multi-tasking means that you are not giving 100% of your attention to a single task? Oh, my God! We must outlaw this at once. After all, most of the idiots in our society can't do much beyong heavy mouth breathing.

    The humanity...

    /sarcasm

     

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  3.  
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    Srinivas, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 6:37am

    Now you know why they call SMS as a 'Killer App'

     

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  4.  
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    proud illinoisan, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 7:12am

    We're ahead of the curve here in Illinois:

    http://www.nbc5.com/traffic/15773695/detail.html

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 7:27am

    What do TV doctors have to do with anything?!

     

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  6.  
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    Tobydecks, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 7:30am

    Frankly.....

    ....if you don't watch what you're doing when you cross the road, there's no-one else to blame but yourself if you get hit by a car.

    How stupid are people?

     

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  7.  
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    hegemon13, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 7:31am

    Better outlaw...

    ...chewing gum while we're at it.

     

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  8.  
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    pulsar, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 7:33am

    Darwin Awards?

    can we please just let our systems work without the micro-management of government offices???

    if in life, as organisms we SHOULD put survival over "txt msg LOL", right? let it go and let god sort them out (or the flying spaghetti monster...)

    if in economics, let the damn freddie fannie etc DIE and make room for some people who are more concerned about survival than profit enter the vacuum.

    i guess this would be evidence that big brother is taking such good care of people here in the states that we are used to a vanilla life of stimuli and being cradled in the warm, workaholic womb that bore us into this nightmare that is our current corporate-socialist police state. i mean, if i just go to work, watch TV, and consume lots of products all while going into debt, my name won't POSSIBLY be on a terrorist list, and god help the people who ARE on that list.

     

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  9.  
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    BadDog357, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 7:39am

    Thin the herd

    This is just nature thinning out the herd. People have been getting killed or hurt doing stupid shit since the dawn of time. you can't outlaw being stupid....... Too bad.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 7:40am

    I heard that in the uk, instead of posting a law they started wrapping posts in soft material because people would run into them while texting

    is this true? (or of anywhere else in the world?)

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 7:57am

    Nice way to jump to conclusions.

     

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  12.  
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    John, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 8:08am

    Laws.

    Can we just outlaw stupidity altogether?

     

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  13.  
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    Read 'n' Walk (profile), Jul 31st, 2008 @ 8:15am

    Hope they don't outlaw reading

    I regularly read on my walk to work, have done for years. It's about a 20 minute walk, and I've yet to have an accident.

    Who are these people who randomly walk in front of cars, into telephone poles and other generally inanimate objects.

    Are they the same people who would normally be walking in front of cars for reasons of general uselessness or for purposes of suing the driver.

     

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  14.  
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    Spork, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 8:18am

    Let em Text and Walk All They Want...

    Isn't it really just a case of natural selection? Thinning out the weak (in this case stupid) from society, and make us stronger as a whole. I say text and walk all you want...

     

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  15.  
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    Craig, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 8:23am

    Opportunity knocks

    Instead of scoffing at this, people should see the opportunity that is presenting itself.

    Mobile devices are in the way when people drive, when people walk or ride a bike, bus, or train. The familiar elbow-up-hand-to-the-side-of-the-face is everywhere. Let's face it, there is a legitimate concern here.

    What's the opportunity? Get the mobile device out of our way. Create a device that does not require us to create a blind spot when we are driving. Create something that does not put us at risk of elbowing someone sitting beside us on the bus.

    That is the opportunity -- and if you figure it out you will be plunking down cash for a ride on Virgin's space ship and having lunch with Bill Gates et al.

    I was in the Philippines this past February 2008. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read that the Filipino people text more per capita than anyone else. Their solution to the walking while texting "danger"? They post signs at intersections that suggest you pay attention rather than text as you cross.

    I don't know if it is a real solution, but certainly when a pedestrian gets mowed down because they aren't paying attention, at least everyone can point to the sign and say "we told you so!"

     

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  16.  
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    Mike, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 8:29am

    People are oblivious

    I am 23 and it IS a problem. People are in their own little world while being in public. I have been bumped into many of time by some oblivious as&$%ole who is texting or looking up something on their phone. Or standing in line only to here some loud mouth talk to their doctor about setting up an appointment for there precious child. In public act publicly. That means interact with others and pay attention. If these simple tasks can't be accomplishment then stay housebound and use your phone to order everything in.

     

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  17.  
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    jason, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 8:45am

    Darwin Laws..

     

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  18.  
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    jason, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 8:47am

    Darwin laws

    sry for the second post (hit return by accident)... they shouldn't make this a law, let natural selection get rid of these idiots gettin hit by cars while texting. i don't find it hard at all to walk and text, just know where the keyboard is and don't look at the phone, duh..

     

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  19.  
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    Jess, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 9:20am

    Purpose...

    What is the purpose of a cellphone; to talk or to text...
    However, I think both...

    Proposal:
    Talk on the phone while doing any activity; walking, driving, running, riding a bike, etc.
    Text people when in a public place. I hate those jerks who talk so loud on the bus, in the library, and the worst, the RESTROOM!

     

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  20.  
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    Chris, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 9:40am

    Why are people always making laws on how to live my life? If people are stupid enough to talk and walk, let them pay their ER bill, don't take away my freedoms. More laws = less freedom. It's time for people to own up to their own personal mistakes.

     

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  21.  
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    boost, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 9:59am

    Re: Life and Death

    That does seem to be the root cause. We should just ban all life. Agreed.

     

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  22.  
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    boost, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 10:03am

    Re: People are oblivious

    You just need to have something sharp attached to you so they get a nice painful poke when they run into you.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 10:04am

    "I am 23 and it IS a problem."

    Yeah, I said the same thing when I was 23. Don't worry, you'll get over it when you grow older. Hey, if you think 23 is a problem, just wait until you hit 30.

     

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  24.  
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    Matt, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 10:43am

    Re: Opportunity knocks

    The problem, like the driving and talking issue, is that the attention of the walker/driver is being diverted by the conversation itself, not the method or mode of communication. One can be equally distracted by a conversation with a fellow rider/walker.
    I am totally against such laws. We're so worried about Big Brother, the fascist dictator putting listening devices in our closets, that we are missing the real Big Brother, whom we are inviting into our lives by electing morons who suggest such legislation.

     

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  25.  
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    Sandoz76, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 11:32am

    Darwinian Crisi-tunity

    Can't we just let natural selection take its course?

     

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  26.  
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    Tony, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 12:42pm

    A Lack of Surprise

    I was anything but surprised when I clicked the link in the update for this article. I live in Illinois, and I just can't wait to see this hit the opinion section of my local paper. I mean honestly, I can agree that this is a problem, but I don't think a new law is a good solution. We need to stop making up fines for everything bad we do, because, and I know this might sound paranoid, but police (as well as the rest of the gov't) already have enough reasons to harass people. Maybe the idea of putting signs up at crosswalks isn't a bad idea, but it seems unnecessarily costly. If we, as intelligent and creative humans *ahem*, can't use technology to save us from (ironically) technology, then we might as well quit using it. Let's use our GPS capabilities to tell our phones when we are about to cross a street so the phone can print the message "LOOK UP!" if we happen to be texting. In fact, with all the facial recognition advancements, we could just make phones so they "know" when you're looking at them. Yeah, I know that sound ridiculous, and it does to me, too. It sounds as ridiculous as making it illegal to walk and text at the same time. Maybe, just maybe I'm walking and texting because I'm walking towards a bomb I have to disarm for someone and at the same time texting a doctor what he could use to save Batman from a deadly poison. Or maybe not.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 12:56pm

    You all are missing the common thread...

    Texting and talking are not the problems...walking is! We need to ban walking. Just as video games cause violence, walking causes stupidty, isn't it obvious?

     

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  28.  
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    JJ, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 1:18pm

    Laws

    Stupid laws are made all the time. I guess they go hand-in-hand with stupid people. I heard a statistic once that only 2% of the population has common sense. I believe that more each day!

     

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  29.  
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    Mogilny, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 1:27pm

    Evolution

    Elimination of the stupid. Sounds like evolution to me

     

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  30.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: People are oblivious

    Is that why those punks wear the spikes all the time?

    Why are ER doctors against this? Isn't this job security?

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 3:14pm

    I'm against the walking law but I still strongly agree that driving and using the cell phone is dangerous. No, I dont have stats but based on empirical evidence I've seen enough to know that many people (though not all) can't deal with the distraction. Also, you'll never get accurate stats since people are not going to admit they were using their phone or texting when they ran into another car, pedestrian, etc..

     

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  32.  
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    Steve, Aug 1st, 2008 @ 6:45am

    Walking while texting

    Honestly I think if someone gets hit they probably deserve it for walking blindly like that.

     

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  33.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Aug 1st, 2008 @ 9:23am

    Think of it as evolution in action

    When I text while walking I always pause at the street corners and check the traffic before I cross.

    It's called "awareness of your surroundings." Or maybe it's called "priorities." Or maybe it's "I'm an old fart who didn't get that way by ignoring hurtling hunks of glass and metal."

    Or maybe I'm just smart. There's always room for doubt on that last one but hey, I'm still here.

     

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