Nanny State: More Politicians Against Pedestrians Listening To Headphones Or Texting
from the why-don't-we-just-ban-moving dept
Four years ago, we wrote about some of the first attempts to ban using mobile phones or digital music players while crossing the street. Most of the bans simply focused on making it illegal to either text, talk into a mobile phone or have headphones on while in a crosswalk. Apparently, a bunch of local politicians are now pushing similar laws for both pedestrians and cyclists.
In California, State Sen. Joe Simitian has reintroduced a bill that would fine cyclists $20 for texting. In Oregon, State Rep. Michael Schaufler wants to fine cyclists $90 for wearing headphones or earbuds. In Virginia, lawmakers are considering whether to broaden such a ban to include any handheld communication device.
And in New York, a bill before the legislature’s transportation committee would ban the use of electronic devices while crossing streets. This is the second time State Sen. Carl Kruger has introduced this legislation to stem what he calls “tuning in and tuning out.”
It’s become so ridiculous, that one Arkansas state senator actually wanted to outlaw pedestrians from wearing headphones in both ears while on a street or sidewalk. The ridicule over that proposal, at least, caused the sponsor of the bill to drop it. However, it seems that many politicians are jumping on this kind of nanny state bandwagon, often citing claims that pedestrian accidents increased for the first time in four years in the first half of 2010. Of course, there could be plenty of reasons why that happened that have little to do with headphone usage (after all, it’s not like there was a sudden influx of new headphone wearing pedestrians last year). On top of that, though, isn’t education a better solution than outright bans?