Social Question

Cruiser's avatar

Will banning texting while walking make the world a safer place?

Asked by Cruiser (34999 points ) May 14th, 2012

“Fort Lee, N.J. police said they will begin issuing $85 jaywalking tickets to pedestrians who are caught texting while walking.”

Do we really need the police issuing tickets to distracted pedestrians? Isn’t the shame of a video of them walking into mall fountains going viral on YouTube enough punishment? What will government fine us for next to make our world a safer place?

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34 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I would say it is about them walking onto the road and causing traffic accidents, resulting in severe injury, death, and material damage.

tom_g's avatar

I thought you were going to link me to an Onion article.

My guess is Fort Lee, NJ has a $$ problem.

Oh, and I’m completely opposed to this. Why not develop a complete “rules of the sidewalk” and have everyone get a license to walk in each state?

CWOTUS's avatar

Ridiculous. No, it’s like our War On Some Drugs. It creates new classes of criminal behavior, increases government reach and scope of control over nominal citizens, and paves the way to more intrusive law. It gains some support from the usual crowd because it may increase safety to some marginal degree, while it undoubtedly sacrifices liberty. Again.

What’s next? Bans on eating while walking? Turn signals required for pedestrians?

More nonsense.

linguaphile's avatar

Agree with @CWOTUS. Absolutely ridiculous.

I can text and walk without hitting anything or anyone… why should I be punished because someone can’t?

If we’re going in that direction, let’s ban strollers used as plows in public places. Have you been to an amusement park lately?? Those parents with strollers are evil!! Scary!! Strollers as weapons!! I have bruises to prove it.

Down with Strollers!!!

just as ridiculous…

Blackberry's avatar

Wtf? This is a bit extreme. My guess would also be that Fort Lee needs money.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Here the talk is about earbuds @Cruiser. Now communities are talking of spending more money on painting the roads in front of train tracks to remind kids to look at the train crossing lights. ( itried to link a news story bt because of the HTML, it won’t work here…(A girl age 13 was killed walking to school when she didn’t hear the Amtrak…the same happened to a boy age 12 in another neighboring community)

Good grief!

We have a lot of walkers & bikers in my community. I for one would be delighted if they were all watching where the f*ck they were going. A ban seems silly to me, but reminding people to be respectful of others would be nice. I’d be fine with police officers giving fines for causing traffic disruptions/hazards.

This is a significant problem where I live.

wundayatta's avatar

How about banning texting while walking in the street or just before entering the street or any other dangerous situation. The point is to make people think, and to keep them from doing stupid things, which should happen if we can engage their higher level thinking out near traffic.

tom_g's avatar

But @wundayatta – there are tons of things that pedestrians do that are dangerous. Why is the focus on texting? Around here, the danger I have seen has been with teenagers who are talking to each other. They are just not paying attention. There are also people just talking on their phone, or people eating bagels, people with long hair that is in their eyes, and generally people who do not pay attention to anything.

Did the city present a case that texting in particular is a problem?

wundayatta's avatar

There’s a quality of attention that people give their cell phones that would probably make any lovelorn lass green. It makes you look down and I don’t know, but it sure seems to be able to keep people’s attention. They’ve outlawed it while driving here in PA (which had the effect of lifting the cell phone in the car ban in Philadelphia—yay.

I think it makes a difference where your attention is going. If you are looking out, then whether phoning or talking, it is easier to pick up incoming information. If you are looking down, as most people do while texting, then I think it is harder to pick up incoming information.

I’m not advocating for laws, though. I think we need education campaigns to encourage people to be alert to their surroundings. You can avoid becoming a victim of crime as well as a victim of a car accident if you maintain your alertness.

tom_g's avatar

@wundayatta: “I’m not advocating for laws, though.”

Then I guess we’re in agreement.

The Onion article is relevant here, and more reasonable than actual real-life city political activity…..

“Our studies show that a large majority of accidents were caused by a direct failure of the pedestrian to not step right in front of a goddamned bus,”

ucme's avatar

Nah, what happens if someone’s simply taking a photo of their shoes?
Leave well alone I say.

Jeruba's avatar

Not safer than it was before there was such a thing as texting.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Are you seriously telling me that Americans find walking such a challenge that they can’t be trusted to do something else at the same time?

Cruiser's avatar

@tom_g The article I linked did say how the city has had 3 fatalities already this year for texting, chewing gum, blinking and walking at the same time. Personally I feel this is modern Darwinism at play but that said my son will be getting his drivers license next week and I am terrified at the thought of a cell phone in his lap as he drives. I also know what I say won’t stop him and all I can do is pray he uses common sense. Nor will a ticket won ‘t undo the carnage of a stupid move and a ticket won’t prevent a stupid move.

I mean how hard would it be for a phone manufacturer to utilize GPS technology to disable the talk and text functions when the phone is in motion?

CWOTUS's avatar

Why should passengers be prevented from using their phones, though, @Cruiser? No, it still (always) comes down to personal responsibility and being trained to make the right decisions at the right times.

You can help train your son in this, too, you know. As you ride with him while he has his learner’s permit (or even when he’s fully licensed) then you or others should text him and call him to train him to ignore that and concentrate on what’s really important.

lillycoyote's avatar

Probably. I once saw a car that was being driven by a person who was texting almost hit a pedestrian who was texting. The texting pedestrian was just walking along, oblivious, and stepped into the intersection without looking and the car almost hit him because the driver was texting, started his left turn and hadn’t seen the pedestrian step in front of him. It was actually pretty funny. The driver did see the pedestrian in time though and didn’t hit him.

They were both idiots, in my opinion, and might have both deserved what they got, but car vs. pedestrian isn’t a fair fight, and the pedestrian’s punishment for being a moron would have been greater than the driver’s punishment for being a moron and that wouldn’t have been fair, I don’t think.

josie's avatar

No. The world is more dangerous than you imagine, especially if you think texting is one of civiliation’s great problems.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. I’ve had so many people walk off the curb to cross the street totally unaware that a car is coming. They look up, but they’re so distracted they don’t notice what they see before they drop their head down to their stupid phones again.

I think texting is turning us into a nation of idiots.

Cruiser's avatar

@CWOTUS I train my dog…I raise my son…you must not have kids.

Say it ain’t so @josie

Dutchess_III's avatar

Same thing, Cruiser, just different terms to apply to different mammals!

josie's avatar

@Cruiser I’m not saying it is a good thing. Just saying the world won’t be a safer place.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’ll be safer for the dumbshit pedestrians who aren’t allowed to text and walk anymore.

Cruiser's avatar

@josie You and I both know there are way worst things to fret about and the jist of highlighting this silly ban in NJ!

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III I disagree…I teach my children right and wrong and I teach my dog to do tricks. I also train my dog to exhibit desire behaviors. I raised my son to be a man, something I can’t do for cuddly mammals.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Cruiser I understand what your point is. But when it comes to teaching them things before they’re old enough to reason with, like at 12–24 months, such as, “Don’t stick your finger in the light socket,” “Don’t run out in the street,” sometimes a swift swat on the butt with a rolled up newspaper gets the point across whether they’re capable of understanding it or not. I’d say just about everything before the age of two isn’t much different than training a dog.

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III I also see you point but seriously even a 2 year old is much smarter than a dog at least mine were. I did potty train my son and taught him how to pee on Cheerios. But bottom line is I teach my dog to be obedient and I raised my son to be respectful and an independent thinker since he was born.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But before you can teach you kids the higher intellectual functions they have to learn to be obedient, even if they don’t know the reasoning. After the age of two, yeah. You can ‘splain things to them that you’ll never be able to explain to a dog. But there is a brief period in a toddler’s life where it’s about “training,” and not much more.

CWOTUS's avatar

Silly @Cruiser. Drivers are trained, if they’re going to be any good at it.

Cruiser's avatar

Silly @CWOTUS I am raising sons to engineer trucks not drive them!

CWOTUS's avatar

Engineers are trained. Doctors are trained. Any professional in any occupation is trained. Training is not just for dogs doing tricks.

Cruiser's avatar

@CWOTUS With all that went into it, I cannot imagine one parent that trained their child to be a doctor. I have 2 very high achieving sons that were not trained to get A’s…I raised them to respect what they taught and be proud of their achievements, HUGE difference over trained to shift gears and make left turns.

CWOTUS's avatar

You’re being deliberately obtuse. Enjoy that.

AshlynM's avatar

Honestly, no. It’s against the law here to text while driving, but people still do it anyway.

People need to be aware of their surroundings at all times, whether it’s walking or driving. I’ve always assumed it was common sense not to text while walking or driving. Why can’t you just pull over or stop walking to take a call or text?

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