A simple text message could lead to 15 days in jail or a $50 fine under a proposed law in New Jersey.
State Assemblywoman Pamela Rosen Lampitt (D-Camden) wants to make it a crime to text and walk at the same time.
“If a person on the road — whether walking or driving — presents a risk to others on the road, there should be a law in place to dissuade and penalize risky behavior,” Lampitt told New York TV station CBS2.
“Distracted pedestrians, like distracted drivers, present a potential danger to themselves and drivers on the road,” a press release from Lampitt stated. “As people’s behaviors change so must our policy.”
Smartphones Labeled ‘Intoxicant’
The act would also make it illegal to talk on the phone and walk at the same time if you are crossing the street, NJ.com reported. The bill apparently has some support in New Jersey, where 32 pedestrians have been killed by cars so far this year.
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“This is an intoxicant,” said Dr. John D’Angelo, head of emergency medicine at Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey, holding up a cell phone after a Street Smart event held at Union County College in early March. “It’s worse than alcohol or drugs for drivers and pedestrians. They’re less aware (of what’s going on around them).”
Said the press release by 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 a minimum, to the same penalty.”
The bill’s number has yet to be released.
Would you support such a bill? Share your thoughts on texting and walking in the section below: