Should Texting While Walking Be Illegal?
We all know that texting while driving is illegal here in New Jersey. But texting while walking? That could be in the near future.
According to a recent report from the New York Daily News, New Jersey assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt just introduced a bill that would make walking while your eyes are glued to your smartphone illegal. The “distracted walking” bill would prohibit pedestrians from walking while text unless they were using a hands-free device. The punishment could be a $50 fine or 15 days in jail or both.
According to Lampitt, “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.”
Is this law really necessary? According to a 2014 study, a quarter of pedestrians are distracted by such devices while crossing the busy streets of New York City. And unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are on the increase. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 4,735 fatal pedestrian accidents in 2013, an increase over the last few years. In fact, hospital records from 2014 have shown that 78 percent of all pedestrian injuries are caused by distracted walking.
New Jersey is not the only state to propose such a law. New York had tried to pass a similar bill last year and Hawaii lawmakers are considering fining pedestrians $250 for walking while texting.
So perhaps it’s time to put down the phone while walking across the street. It can wait until you get where you need to go.
If you are involved in a pedestrian accident with a car or you lost a loved one in a fatal pedestrian accident, we can help. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.