While laws against texting and driving are a dime a dozen around the world today, a new bill in the US state of New Jersey proposes making texting and walking a punishable offense that could land you in jail or slapped with a fine.
Fort Lee, a town in New Jersey, already fines people if their texting and walking is deemed to be dangerous to others around them, however this new bill will make any use of an electronic communication by pedestrians illegal state-wide. That's unless the device is being used hands-free, according to a report from the Associate Press.
The bill was introduced by state assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt. It would make it so anyone caught walking and texting could be fined up to $50, face 15 days imprisonment, or both, which are the same penalties for jaywalking in the state.
"Distracted pedestrians, like distracted drivers, present a potential danger to themselves and drivers on the road," Lampitt said.
"An individual crossing the road distracted by their smartphone presents just as much danger to motorists as someone jaywalking and should be held, at minimum, to the same penalty."
She referenced a National Safety Council report, which says distracted walking incidents involving cell phones accounted for an estimated 11,101 injuries from 2000 through 2011 in the US.
Of course, the bill has yet to be passed into legislation, and a hearing on the proposal hasn't been scheduled.
It's also unclear how the police would actually enforce this law if it's passed, or if they'd even want to bother with it. We presume it'd likely only be enforced if an incident involving a pedestrian walking and texting occurred.
Whether the law is passed or not, it's not a bad idea to be mindful of walking and texting. It's not the most dangerous thing you can do, but we've all had those times when someone nearly ran into us - or we ran into them - because of having our faces down in our cell phones.
- Hands on with the iPhone SE