stories filed under: "walking"
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jul 14th 2009 7:39am
A bunch of folks have been sending in various versions of this story -- and I have to admit, it sounds so ridiculous that it reads like an urban legend. I was hesitant to even write about it at first, but with so many mainstream media sources covering it, perhaps it really did happen. Basically, a girl who claims she was so focused on text messaging while working fell into an open manhole in Staten Island. Now, that should be embarrassing enough, but the really crazy part is the claim that the girl's parents are planning to sue the city for not adequately protecting their daughter from herself. At least they're not suing the mobile carrier or mobile device maker as well...
Mon, Dec 15th 2008 1:53pm
from the voice-of-reason dept
At the University of Virginia, there's a professor who studies "the historic relationship between pedestrians and motorists." Lately, he's been looking at pedestrians texting on their phones while crossing the street, and he says that the phenomenon really isn't anything new, rather it's just the latest iteration of a historically recurring issue. He points out that a century ago, people crossing the street with their nose buried in a book were causing problems. The historical example is a little extreme, but it's valid nonetheless. Banning all sorts of activities, like talking on the phone while crossing the street, really isn't likely to be effective, as the professor notes. He points out that jaywalking laws didn't do much to stop people from crossing the street anywhere they liked, that in fact it was the stigma of being called a "jaywalker" (along with, presumably, the danger of getting run over) that had the biggest effect. He suggests calling people who text while they cross the street "textlemmings". That doesn't seem especially likely to catch on, but the underlying point is that, sadly, you can't ban stupidity, and laws banning things like texting while walking, don't really make people safer, and won't save stupid people from themselves. If you're already not paying attention to traffic while you walk and text, why would you suddenly pay attention to a difficult-to-enforce law?
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jul 31st 2008 5:45am
from the they're-coming dept
Anyone want to take a guess on when we'll see the first laws proposed to ban the practice of walking-while-texting? We've already seen a few proposals that would ban walking and talking in a crosswalk. And, to add some fuel to the fire, some ER doctors are warning people who walk and text at the same time that it's risky behavior. The doctors say they're seeing a rise in reports of people walking and texting at the same time, leading to some sort of injury, including two people who were hit by a car after paying more attention to their phone than oncoming traffic. Since technopanics always seem to start with a news article, just wait for someone to propose a law against this -- rather than insisting that perhaps it's time to institute a little common sense. Update: Apparently, I'm too late. At least one state has already proposed just such a law.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Apr 7th 2008 6:46am
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?