Texting While Walking May Soon Be Fineable in New York. Similar U.S. Legislation Passed Elsewhere Already. Will It Be Enough to Deter Screen Addicts?

By B.N. Frank

Research from the Mayo Clinic determined that texting on smartphones triggers a new type of brain rhythm. “Digital Addiction” or “Screen Addiction” has been validated by many credible sources as a serious medical condition despite the fact that some are still actively promoting heavy screen use as normal, productive and sometimes even cool.

Texting and walking is a safety concern and not just for those who are doing it.  But will legislation and fines be enough to stop addicts?  Or should there be more efforts to discourage heavy screen use in children and adults whether they are walking in public places or not?

From USA Today

ALBANY, N.Y. – You probably shouldn’t walk across a street and look at your phone at the same time. Now New York might make it illegal.

A bill sponsored by Democrats who control the state Legislature would allow police to issue a ticket between $25 to $50 for a first offense of getting caught texting while walking — unless you can prove it was an emergency.

The law would be simple enough, the bill states: “No pedestrian shall cross a roadway at any point while using any portable electronic device.”

The bill was first introduced last year by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, but it picked up majority support in the Senate earlier this month from Sen. John Liu, D-Queens.

“It has been proven that distraction from texting while walking can cause pedestrians to cross roads very unsafely,” the bill said.

“Not only can trips and falls occur, but even getting hit is more than just a possibility.”

The bill cited various statistics from safety studies, including the National Safety Council  that point to the dangers of distracted walking when using a mobile phone.

The group said that teenagers are now more likely to get hit by a car than younger people because they can be distracted by walking across the street and looking at a phone.

“The National Safety Council is focused on efforts to eliminate distracted walking – specifically walking while using a mobile device,” the group said on its website. “Kids often don’t recognize the dangers of distracted walking.”

Honolulu made it illegal to walk across the street while looking at a phone, as did the city of Montclair, California. Neighboring states Connecticut and New Jersey have also introduced legislation to have statewide bans.

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Image credit: Pixabay

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