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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    simon, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 3:59pm

    No we don't just a bloody stupid idea, natural selection if someone hurts themselves while texting and walking so be it!

     

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    Nick Nack, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 4:33pm

    Prehaps..

    Prehaps we should ban thinking whilst walking, too?

     

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  3.  
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    warren, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 4:34pm

    must be new

    The one thing that NYC does, if weed off the weak.
    TXTing and walking can lead to Taxi/truck/bus accidents.
    Would increase the Morgue's daily work load though, not good for the cities finances.

     

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  4.  
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    Jo, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

    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.

     

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  5.  
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    Chris, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 4:43pm

    Yeah - eventually all the walk-texters that can't also pay attention to their surroundings will walk out into traffic. Good for Darwin!

     

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  6.  
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    SuperLicenseAgent, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 6:01pm

    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.

     

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  7.  
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    Overcast, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 7:00pm

    There's one thing we'll never, ever need a law to ban - that's being a politician and thinking at the same time - because it never happens.

     

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  8.  
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    john, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 7:20pm

    No need for a law banning but what about a law protecting the people who beat these idiots

    As the subject says, we don't need a law banning idiots texting but we should pass a law that says when that idiot walks into me and I break his inconsiderate nose I am within my rights.

     

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  9.  
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    Dave M., Feb 19th, 2009 @ 7:30pm

    Natural selection is great...

    Simon: However, these texting folks are not necessarily going to be killed, so this could cause health insurance to go way up just because of them. If the law prevents such a thing from happening, its worth it. Otherwise, I'm with you on the sentiment.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 8:01pm

    Misdemeanor? What a dumbass. So TXTing while walking should get you thrown in jail? Nevermind the idea is retarded to begin with, but making it punishable with jail time is even more retarded.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 8:41pm

    Re:

    think up MORE stupid laws just to throw people in jail should be felony all by its self.

     

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  12.  
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    Sean, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 10:16pm

    It should be a misdemeanor to waste taxpayer money on such stupid ideas, and since he was the mastermind, he too can be punished, again through the court system, at the expense of the taxpayer.

    Boy these people sure are annoying when they can't see their own hypocrisy.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2009 @ 4:50am

    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.

    Intolerable!!!

     

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  14.  
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    Eric V., Feb 20th, 2009 @ 6:15am

    texting

    I am not condoning the idea of a law here at all, but, What if you were driving very conservatively (yeah I know) suddenly crunched a pedestrian who was paying more attention to their phone than where they were going? Wouldn't you suddenly wish there was a law? It's all about liability.

     

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  15.  
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    Crabby (profile), Feb 20th, 2009 @ 6:57am

    Re:

    I agree; unless you're the poor driver who happens to hit the dumba**. Then you get sued by the idiot's survivors. We just need a law to exonerate drivers from stupid pedestrian tricks.

     

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  16.  
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    Crabby (profile), Feb 20th, 2009 @ 7:02am

    Re: texting

    Yes, it is a liability issue. 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. Or, for that matter, look up to see if they're going to walk into anyone.

     

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  17.  
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    wssnyc, Feb 20th, 2009 @ 7:37am

    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.

     

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  18.  
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    OC, Feb 20th, 2009 @ 8:00am

    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.

     

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  19.  
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    Gerk, Feb 20th, 2009 @ 9:17am

    Next Up ...

    The banning of chewing gum while walking for all those jealous un-coordinated fools who can't do that either.

     

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  20.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 20th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    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.

     

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  21.  
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    Dave M., Feb 22nd, 2009 @ 2:16am

    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?

     

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  22.  
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    Ryan davis, Mar 13th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    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.
    .

     

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  23.  
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    Xavier brock, Oct 12th, 2009 @ 3:20pm

    Honestly we don"t need a law banning it. If they do get hurt because of this, then and health insurers shouldn't have to pay for their idiotic mistakes. You can't stop people from texting and walking but they would get a big lesson if they weren't covered for it.

     

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  24.  
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    Cass, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:05pm

    Re: I know .....

    this does not even make logical sense. what about a mother who is trying to carry groceries and tend to children. that is multitasking. it is impossible to live like and not multitask.
    tho it appears to be easy for you.. typing and thinking dont appear to be happening together in you case.

     

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  25.  
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    cass, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:06pm

    Re: No need for a law banning but what about a law protecting the people who beat these idiots

    hahahaha agreed!

     

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  26.  
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    text, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:08pm

    Re: texting

    if they were texting and walking they would not be goig very fast.. if you hit them you were most likely not paying attention while driving.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2010 @ 8:11pm

    Re: Let me ask you

    Exactly!!!
    all of the thing everyone is saying that texters are doing are already against the law. a new law will not help in any way... its just stupid.

     

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  28.  
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    aron, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 7:29am

    Maybe they should just have a law that lets grab there cell phone and smash it if someone walks into you while texting

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 7:28am

    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.....you can't fix stupid.

     

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  30.  
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    Kelley, Jan 26th, 2011 @ 11:34pm

    Re: I know .....

    Don't give them any ideas!!!

     

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  31.  
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    scott, Mar 5th, 2011 @ 6:27am

    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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  32.  
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    John, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 8:09am

    This is freakin stupid! why not just ban walkin altogether!! the law makers can go 2 hell! just tryin 2 get sum money

     

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