What's Next, A Ban On Walking While Talking? Oh Wait…

from the how-about-chewing-gum dept

First there were bans on yakking while driving; then it was yakking while bicycling. So it’s only logical that they’d go after yakking while walking.. That’s right, a state senator in New York wants to ban the use of cell phones and iPods while crossing the street. The proposed legislation comes after two pedestrians in New York were recently killed, walking across the street while listening to their iPods. This is a really typical response from a lawmaker. As soon as something bad happens, their first inclination is to just ban whatever they think caused it. Certainly, these things could be distracting, and in rare instances, it might cause someone to not notice that the sign is no longer blinking “walk”. But the majority of people who talk on the phone or listen to an iPod are able to navigate the task of crossing the street just fine, without having to stop what they’re doing. Hopefully this law sounds as ludicrous to other lawmakers as it does to us, but at this point there’s no telling what they’ll do in the name of “public safety”.

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Comments on “What's Next, A Ban On Walking While Talking? Oh Wait…”

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Bumbling old fool (profile) says:

In the name of the blanket

It’s too rediculously difficult to enforce a pedestrian ban on using these devices when crossing the street.

So what they ought to do (in the name of the almighty blanket of protection) is just ban all cell phones and ipods.

That would simplify things greatly in terms of public awareness and enforcement.

(ok, so that might sound rediculous (!sp) but really its not much of an extension to the trends already face with micro managing our liberties in order to protect us from ourselves…)

lar3ry says:

Isn't this an example of blaming the victim?

These pedestrians got killed when they crossed the street while listening to an iPod. Whose fault is that? Is it the fault of the driver, who should have been in complete control of his vehicle at all times? Of course not! Lets blame the pedestrian!

Police officer on scene: “Why did you run over that pedestrian?”

Driver: “Look… he was listening to an iPod… He was just askin’ for it, ferchrissakes!”

Policeman: “He wasn’t listening to it. He didn’t even have the ear buds on!”

Driver: “Yeah, but I saw that device on his belt. I tell ya, he was just beggin’ for it. I just had to hit him.”

Policeman: “I see. You crossed two lanes of traffic for the sole reason of killing this guy. Is that also why you backed over him afterward?”

Driver: “Yeah. I got out to make sure he was dead. I also took his wallet. And those boots… do you think they’re my size?”

Policeman, filling out report: “Pedestrian insisted on getting killed. We need more pedestrian laws to handle this…”

lar3ry says:

Re: Re: Isn't this an example of blaming the victi

And if you are driving 40 MPH in the streets of NYC, then YOU are the mentally challenged one, sir.

It’s a fact that there are a number of pedestrians out there. It’s also a fact that it’s the driver’s responsibility to avoid pedestrians, not the other way around. Blaming the victim in this case is as absurd as my original posting in this topic. Listening to an iPod isn’t the equivalent to asking to be hit by a car, no matter how you try to spin it.

Before iPods, there were other portable players, all the way back to the Walkmans in the 80s, and before that, there were those silly transistor radios with the thingamabob that you stuck in your ear in the 60s. In all that time, we never had a need for a law to ban their use by pedestrians. It’s only now that some muck-raking politician wants to get on a soap box and make an ass of himself by proposing legislation that, in effect, makes being hit by a car the victim’s fault.

The fact that somebody that reads this blog would actually consider that the proposed legislation has any conceivable merit is simply inconceivable. (“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.“)

Sam says:

Re: Isn't this an example of blaming the victim?

Hi Look when people are talking on the phone and getting ready to cross the street they dont look at the Traffic light! they just walk and think about what they are talking about on the cell phone. Also there used to be a little non told rule about crossing the street (Walk up To The Corner-Use your eyes to look out-Use your ears to hear- and wait until the coast is clear then cross the street. what happen to that little un told rule! I see you can`t Use your ears to hear they are busy listening to what someone is saying to you.
So who is the Victim now Oh yea the poor driver who Hit the person when they walked into the cross walk because they where on their cell phone not paying attention to the traffic light or signs that say STOP DO`NOT WALK!!!!!!!!!!!

Disgusted says:

Hey #14 what reasons do you have that people should be embarrassed to live in NY. That’s my home town…What are you some kind of a Redneck Bible belt freak? If your gonna say something like that Don’t be an AC Post your name. I mean what ? Am I just going to jump through your monitor and Beat you? Keyboard Courage…….

Corporal Max Sterling says:


This story lacks certain details…

maybe they WERE paying attention, but there are some crazy people/drivers in NY – I should know, I’ve almost been hit before – and maybe it had NOTHING TO DO with the stupid gadget they were using.

maybe the ipod/cellphone wasn’t even on, and the drivers in those situations decided “I’m just not going to stop”

we don’t know, and not to mention how many people live in NY?? so if I go out and I kick two of you other New Yorker’s, will we then ban feet??

how do we know it wasn’t utter hatred for their iCrap device that made them run at the cars in a suicidal kamikaze attempt??

and, I mean… maybe it was an important call, dammit!!

…(can go on forever)…..

zazie says:

well... from a NY'ers standpoint

Getting around the city can occasionally be quite trecherious. Simply dodging yellow cabs is enough to make you think you are playing “Frogger”.

It’s funny because there are lights and crosswalks at just about every intersection in the city, well, at least for midtown, and if you wait for the marked time at a crosswalk, odds are in your favor that you WON’T be hit by a 2000+ lb. piece of steel.

Truth of the matter is that accidents happen. People are careless, and walk out into traffic. The car on the street is usually going somewhere between 15-30mph, and can’t stop on a dime. It’s simply unavoidable. Suck it up and deal with it. We don’t need legislation, we need common sense!

I walk through the city every friday, with my trusty iPod playing the whole time. I am observant of my surroundings and haven’t been hit by a car. Not even once!

Apex says:

Warning Labels

We should ban warning labels. That’s what is causing all these problems. If we took the warning labels off of everything, the stupid people would do what they do best. Kill themselves. Thereby “cleaning the gene pool” as a poster above said.

After a generation or two of no warning labels we’d all have our flying cars, jet packs and moon vacations because humanity would be filled with geniuses.

TheDock22 says:

Don't pay attention?

“It’s too dangerous, Drivers don’t pay attention and pedestrians don’t pay attention

I love this quote from the article. It’s basically saying “we need this law because drivers don’t pay attention and we’re tired of telling them to be more careful.” I’m so glad I don’t live in New York.

Besides, two people killed? How many other pedestrians get whacked by cars in New York everyday? I want to see the numbers since I believe it’s more than two.

BilDivX says:


does this make any sense? You’re thinking that two people in New York were killed because they failed to heed the lights while talking? Ok…so, I’ve been to New York a few times, and in my experience, ignoring traffic lights has little to do with being on a phone. In fact, jaywalking and crossing against signals seems to be par for the course on the east coast. I saw a lot of it in Boston too.

In California, nobody does it because cops actually will enforce those laws. Maybe that is actually the cause? you know, as opposed to assuming it’s some random device that you happen to have a vendetta against because “it’s new and unknown” and therefore you find it scary…

Don’t get me wrong…California has plenty of “dumb moments in legislature” But this sounds more like you need to tell cops to enforce the pedestrian laws, not create a new and pointless one.

Andy says:

Re: ummmm...

Geez….do you read what you write? Enforce the pedestrian laws? You’re as bad as the goddamn idiot who wants this new law. Treat adults as adults (kids are a different story). If people reach “maturity” and can’t figure out how to cross the road, without a law being enforced, they’re either retarded or suicidal. Either way, no law, enforced or otherwise will make a difference. Take responsibility for your actions people and screw these unnecessary and insulting laws. Hey and we’d be able to fire a few overpaid lawyers at the same time! 😉

viewfromthenorth (user link) says:

natural selection at work?

Is it just me, or does anyone else here see natural selection at work in these cases?..Up here in canada, they passed laws requiring motorists to slow down to 30kph while passing shchools,which at first blush sounds reasonable, till you realize this includes high schools (our equivialnt to college) and universitys.

ok for grades 1 to 8 schools this makes sense with the little kids there, but come on .. if by the time you graduate out to the higher schooling, if you don’t have the brains to look both ways before crossing a street.. that is natural selection at work.

viewfromthenorth (user link) says:

natural selection at work?

Is it just me, or does anyone else here see natural selection at work in these cases?..Up here in canada, they passed laws requiring motorists to slow down to 30kph while passing shchools,which at first blush sounds reasonable, till you realize this includes high schools (our equivialnt to college) and universitys.

ok for grades 1 to 8 schools this makes sense with the little kids there, but come on .. if by the time you graduate out to the higher schooling, if you don’t have the brains to look both ways before crossing a street.. that is natural selection at work.

Comicfan2000 says:

ban this ban that

A story from my childhood, I was running in the house, shouldn’t have and cracked my toe very hard off the chair. I was furious and smacked the chair blaming it to no end. My Dad pulled me away and yelled at me saying “how is it the chair’s fault? ! you ran into it!” Funny how Senators can’t figure this out!

We’ll i’m not from NY but even in my state, a high school kid ran into the road on his bike wo looking and directly into a semi. Now, I felt bad for the parents and it is tragic for any parent or relative, however, where was the common sense? Now there is also a 30 mph speed reduction and police men busting everyone 12 mile over the limit. $$ hmmmm.

Isn’t it funny how in this day and age, we can blame inanimate objects for our lack of grey matter? This isn’t new, it’s been happening for quite some time, we keep losing small freedoms due to idiots.

We had headphones back in the 80’s with cassette players and wore them all the time, never did I hear someone getting crammed because of it.

I make it a point to keep in touch with my kids and what the do, they are the most important thing in life over anything and I will make time to teach them common sense, to take out those buds when crossing a street with an ipod, to look both ways, to NOT assume a car will stop….Yeah , those little things that may save their life.

People this is the reason we still need instructions on shampoo bottles.

CoJeff says:

Ban Senators!

“This electronic gadgetry is reaching the point where it’s becoming not only endemic but it’s creating an atmosphere where we have a major public safety crisis at hand.”

This was taken from CNN’s article, so how is this a major public safety issue? How many people in NY use phones or music players and how many live in NY? So because of two morons everyone in NY must be subjected to BS laws like this.

As some people have posted, if guns kill people how come we don’t ban that or what about booze? I remember a college freshman killed here in Colorado because he drank too much. Lets go back to the prohibition days!!! YIPPIE!

Ben(damnit) says:

Senator Who?

Personally, I’d just like to know the name of the senator that came up with this proposed ban.

I’d e-mail them a list of other things that should be baned, like capitalism and rampant consumerism.

Following senate reasoning, if people couldn’t buy all these cell phones, and music devices, and cars, and shoes, then no one would be in danger of anything because we’d all be at home reading…. wait, then we might get eye strain, better ban that too. damnit.

Not Always Plugged IN says:

everyone shares the blame in this

some people who wear ipods have them blasting away so it is a wonder that they can hear anything else besides the music…and if they are very involved in what they are listening to they may not really be aware of their environment…the same can be said about cell phone users.

why people feel the need to be constantly plugged into something is amazing…

people need to realize that not everybody can or know how to multitask and this can create some dangerous problems in performing normal daily tasks like crossing the street (remember your mother telling you to look both ways for cars before crossing the street).

perhaps the driver of the car was on the cell phone immediately before the accident.

i am not defending politicians, however, when people refuse to use common sense it can be really frustrating for everyone involved.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: everyone shares the blame in this

i am not defending politicians, however, when people refuse to use common sense it can be really frustrating for everyone involved.

Yeah its frustrating that people have to deal with these BS proposals! There is no way you could justify banning a device like this. What is the person was reading a newspaper while walking? It seems to me that a newspaper blocks the persons vision and he could step out into the traffic. You mention common sense, then tell me why there is a label on top of lawn mowers to turn it off before sticking your hands by the blades??? This was most likely because some moron said “Oh I’m supposed to turn it off first, where was my warning!” and sued the company.

If people can’t multitask then why do they continue to do it. This is such a multi-tasking issue then maybe that should be the ban. I for one can multi-task very well and I talk to people while listening to music all the time. Its when I have to focus on the conversation that I’ll turn off the music. I believe our politicians should have an age limit. After a certain age they aren’t allowed to write any technology laws.

Disgusted at disgusted says:


hey disgusted…, you comment to an AC for not putting a name on his post, yet you don’t put a name on your post. sure “disgusted” is a name, but i can put disgusted as well and so can every other poster. why not pur your real name/info on there before you complain that others don’t?

i’m not complaining that you should, i’m saying that you should do it youself before yelling at someone else.

Money says:


It’s about revenue, really.

A more appropriate change would be to include inquires into whether any involved individuals were distracted during the accident. So if GTA a pedestrian that walks into traffic because they were flapping on the phone or jamming to some mp3, it can be used to help determine fault. Impaired individual are usually noted and tested if necessary, with the advent of gadgets there influence on the situation should be noted as well

Dr. Lizardo says:

Open Letter to Fat-Ass State Senator Kruger

Hey, Shit-for-Brains, you better back down on this one, ’cause New York City does about half of all it’s business on a cell phone while walking from one place to another. And that’s a lot of money being made by people with no time for games, nor sympathy for fools. Stop and think about it. Then stop and look at how many traffic fatalities people are willing to put up with every year because driving is such a vital part of life here in America. Safety is nice, and this may have seemed like a good idea to whatever moron you use as a political advisor, but there’s no way you’ll have any career left in public life if this gets passed. You’ll have achieved infamy.

Tim (user link) says:


This is not all quite so ludicrous as those who would ridicule it make out. The problem with anti-driver laws was their imbalance. Having once been forced to screech to a halt so hard I stalled, because of some thick-headed pedestrian sailing out into the road oblivious of cars coming round the corner, I have a lot of sympathy with imposing the same restrictions on them as on any other road user.

What I don’t have sympathies with is the use of legislation to make any of the above a specific offence itself. They should be regarded as contributory factors in cases brought for other reasons, and courts should have the balls to expect people to exhibit personal responsibility.

Ryan says:

Legislating Behavior and Stopping Crime

The idea of law enforcement is to stop crime. Crime is defined as the act of damaging another person or another person’s property. That’s it, that’s all. It’s actually pretty hard to get through life without damaging someone else or someone else’s property in some way – so that’s a lofty enough goal.

That said, if you want to put yourself in danger, pierce your nipples, bungee jump, or risk your life by crossing the street with your iPod blaring, that should be your own right as a free person.

This disturbing trend starts with the attempt to “stop crime before it happens” or “protect you from yourselves” but in reality it is nothing less than fascism by other means. It is based in the arrogant belief that I as a person know better than all others, so therefore my own morality should erveryone else’s.

Those who would decree what behavior is to be start out by saying they are trying to “protect” us from crimes about to be committed, or legislate behaviors that have the effect of say, reducing a neighborhood’s property values, thus damaging another person.

But then they start taking away our rights to be and to do as we will as free people. This is therefore nothing less than the destruction of Liberty itself. Following this trend to the logical extreme no one will be permitted to say anything, do anything, or be anything. We might as well just be honest and rip up the Constitution, throw away our Liberty willfully and consciously, and bow down before those who know better than us about everything.

Look, at MOST, if you cross a street with your iPod, the driver of said car that creamed your butt should be given a “get out of vehicular manslaughter” card. But if I’m smart enough to use an iPod and not get creamed crossing the street, great.

If there’s NO HARM, there should be NO FOUL.

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