Do We Really Need Laws Banning Texting While Walking?

from the there-oughta-be-a-law dept

Over at CNET, a blogger is decrying the latest epidemic to hit New York City: people walking while texting on their phone. One imagines this has been happening in the city (and plenty of other places) for some time and people have been managing to survive, but this blogger apparently just arrived there on a business trip and noticed. It’s the typical “man-these-people-are-annoying” type of thing, but his final suggestion is that “some fine district attorneys might find it in themselves to create a little misdemeanor out of this peculiar habit.” Sure, it’s annoying to get run into by somebody walking down the street and paying more attention to their phone than the sidewalk, but it’s not too much more annoying than getting run into by somebody lost in a newspaper, or daydreaming. Perhaps we should codify laws making that stuff a crime, too, if we’re looking for suggestions on how to waste police time. As has been pointed out before, this phenomenon really isn’t anything new, but rather the latest iteration of the intersection of pedestrians and technology. Jaywalking laws haven’t stopped people from jaywalking; pointless bans on doing certain activities while walking aren’t likely to stamp out that behavior, either.

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Comments on “Do We Really Need Laws Banning Texting While Walking?”

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Jo says:

What next?

I guess that someone will say that there has to be a law stating that you are not allowed to use a public bathroom for more than 5 min and that courtesy flushes are required…

These days, courtesy and, as it seems, commonsense are no longer in our society, but trying to pass laws that obligate people to be what they are not is just plain stupid.

SuperLicenseAgent says:

I know .....

We need a law that bans doing more than one thing at a time … this will be very easy to enforce and there will not be any problems with deciding what constitutes “doing something”. Those that really need to do more than one thing at a time will need to get a multitasking license in order to do so. This license will be on a sliding scale proportional to the level of multitasking involved. One can get a reduced license if you attend and pass a course on the topic.

Anonymous Coward says:

This kind of thing must be stopped at once.

Otherwise, we will soon have all kinds of these laws such as forcing you to wear a seat belt while driving or forcing you to wear a helmet to ride a motorcycle or to stop you from smoking while walking on the street or to stop you from smoking in your own car!

And who knows some ambitious politicians might just decide to regulate what kinds of food restaurants can serve or will raise taxes on foods that they don’t like.


ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: Re: texting

“Just because a pedestrian has the legal right of way doesn’t mean they shouldn’t take the time to look both ways before they cross the street.”

I’m not disagreeing with you but if the pedestrian has the right of way, then they have the right of way. If you start factoring in what they were doing at the time, you’re just confusing the issue.

wssnyc says:

are you kidding me?

I live in NY and I’ve seen several pedestrians about to be hit while walking/texting/and stepping into the street against the light. There should be laws to either fines these idiots or laws to protect drivers against being sued if the incident was the fault of someone texting and walking as if they couldn’t stop and complete their message or wait 15 seconds and finish their message when they were in a safe location.

OC says:

sure it's a problem

Sure, it might be a problem but after living in New York for a couple of years you realize that it’s also the same problem with people being in a hurry, looking at a map, talking to a friend, carrying an umbrella, thinking about last night, etc. Tourists in general are a menace since they are typically looking up rather than at where they are going.

No law can fix this so called problem.

Dave M. (user link) says:

Let me ask...

Lets say you are driving along and all of a sudden, someone walks in front of your car at an intersection. You didn’t expect it since you have a green light and there are others at the corner waiting patiently.

You hit this person. You are now responsible for this person’s situation. Even though he disobeyed a “Don’t Walk” sign. Why did he do this? He was texting someone while listening to music and was not paying attention.

This pedestrian now has the right to sue you for damages and very well might.

You still feel that a law like this is unjustified?

Ryan davis says:

Let me ask you

Dave M. You are a disgrace to society. More laws do nothing! The man was breaking the law by disobeying the “don’t walk sign”. Did that law help??? What makes you think another law like ‘no texting while walking’ will make any difference?? If someone is killed by a crazed murderer with a spoon, should we outlaw spoons? I want to introduce legislation that makes it illegal to introduce legislation. But maybe you’re right Dave, let’s outlaw spoons
“A state is better governed which has few laws, and those laws strictly observed”.
Rene Descartes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why don’t we just ban cell phones all together? The woman that fell into the fountain…all I can say is that it was her own fault, not the mall, not the bystanders, not the engineer who designed the mall, HER FAULT. Laws aren’t going to create common sense which obviously isn’t so common these days. One of my favorite comedians has a phrase… can’t fix stupid.

scott says:

texting while walking

This is just a bad excuse to criminalize pedestrians. Has anyone ever noticed the time they talk to a cop is when they pull you over for some dumb reason while driving? I’m totally against texting while driving. If a texter can’t look both way while crossing the street, let them face the natural punishments. I go through enough people that practice texting while driving. People tapping into their phone to find the perfect song for their car. It bugs me to the fullest.

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