Chill Out On The Texting While Walking Bans, Says Professor

from the voice-of-reason dept

At the University of Virginia, there's a professor who studies "the historic relationship between pedestrians and motorists." Lately, he's been looking at pedestrians texting on their phones while crossing the street, and he says that the phenomenon really isn't anything new, rather it's just the latest iteration of a historically recurring issue. He points out that a century ago, people crossing the street with their nose buried in a book were causing problems. The historical example is a little extreme, but it's valid nonetheless. Banning all sorts of activities, like talking on the phone while crossing the street, really isn't likely to be effective, as the professor notes. He points out that jaywalking laws didn't do much to stop people from crossing the street anywhere they liked, that in fact it was the stigma of being called a "jaywalker" (along with, presumably, the danger of getting run over) that had the biggest effect. He suggests calling people who text while they cross the street "textlemmings". That doesn't seem especially likely to catch on, but the underlying point is that, sadly, you can't ban stupidity, and laws banning things like texting while walking, don't really make people safer, and won't save stupid people from themselves. If you're already not paying attention to traffic while you walk and text, why would you suddenly pay attention to a difficult-to-enforce law?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    JGM, Dec 15th, 2008 @ 2:05pm

    Perhaps we should solicit Stephen King for a comment on this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2008 @ 2:07pm

    What is extreme about crossing the street while reading? I used to do it all the time. Of course I generally stopped to make sure it was save to cross before doing so. :-P

     

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  3.  
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    Some other guy, Dec 15th, 2008 @ 2:33pm

    'Think of it as evolution in action'

     

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  4.  
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    some guy, Dec 15th, 2008 @ 2:45pm

    theres nothing wrong at all while crossing the road reading I do it all the time so ease off

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2008 @ 2:57pm

    What problem?

    I don't see a problem. I'm texting and crossing the street right n

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2008 @ 3:01pm

    Textlemmings is too long

    I propose "Texttards." Slightly shorter and more of that stigma thing people so love to attach to something they dislike.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2008 @ 3:48pm

    That's my university! Wahoo!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2008 @ 4:22pm

    Texting while crossing the street (or reading) is dangerous and I've seen more than one close call because of it. As for what to call them, I suggest "lemmings."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Just Wondering, Dec 15th, 2008 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Now where was I?

    No deep thinking is encouraged while working (or anytime else, for that matter).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Watched, Dec 15th, 2008 @ 6:01pm

    I watched a man walk into two different signs and a tree all while texting in the same 1/2 block. Not once did he change is course of walking down the sidewalk. I assume Darwin is looking for him.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2008 @ 6:08pm

    Re: Re: Now where was I?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Sos, Dec 15th, 2008 @ 6:50pm

    Re:

    I suggest "lemmings."

    Wow did you come up with this term all on your own or did you just read the post?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    YeaSoWhat, Dec 15th, 2008 @ 8:38pm

    who's to blame?

    if there's an accident, the blamme's on whoever didnt bother to look. Besides, driving on a college campus, you should already be goin slow and watchin for people on the road. Nobody should be goin 45 down such a street anyways.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2008 @ 11:51am

    Name for them...

    How about "targets"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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