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?

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Next Thing To Ban: Walking While Talking On A Mobile Phone”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
47 Comments
Evil Mike (profile) says:

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…

Anonymous Coward says:

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?”

louis says:

Re: 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.

Joel says:

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.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

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.

Dave S says:

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.

Boost says:

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!!!”.

anon says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

Keybored says:

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.

anon says:

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.

Nicko says:

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.

TheDock22 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

Allana (profile) says:

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.

Prodiem says:

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.

Zaide says:

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.

Jake says:

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.

Xiera says:

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.

anon says:

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…)

DRM Suxx says:

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?

Haywood says:

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.

Kevin (profile) says:

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.

Jake says:

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.

Jennifer Carole (user link) says:

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.

Alex says:

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”

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...