Monday, May 14, 2012

New Jersey town begins ticketing pedestrians for texting while walking

We've all seen - and laughed - and people doing stupid things while texting, including walking into fountains. However, people have been killed by "distracted" walking, and after twenty accidents and three deaths this year alone, Fort Lee, NJ has had enough.

Fort Lee has begun issuing $85 jaywalking tickets to pedestrians who are caught texting while walking. After a short grace period in March during which time the police handed out educational pamphlets, the authorities have begun issuing tickets to "distracted walkers."

So far, they've issued 117 of those tickets, according to The New Jersey Record.

Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas Ripoli told ABC News that “It’s a big distraction. Pedestrians aren’t watching where they are going; they are not aware.”

It's true. A study conducted by a professor at Stony Brook Uniersity in New York found that texters were 60 percent more likely to veer off course than non-texters.

Non-scientifically, incidents such as the woman falling into a mall fountain while texting (linked above) or even a mall nearly running smack dab into a wandering bear while texting (shown in the video below) are prime examples of how distracted texting can be both humorous - and dangerous.

In London, authorities have padded lampposts to prevent texting injuries while walking.

Of course, back in New Jersey, folks won't admit that they could possibly be endangered by texting while walking. One unnamed woman on the video below said, "I think that's kind of crazy. That's a lot of money," while at the same time laughing.

Another man said "I don't think I'd ever need to be fined. I don't think I'd ever put myself in danger by doing something like this."

Note: this is the same sort of reaction that some give with regard to drinking and driving.

You can watch two separate ABC News reports below.

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