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A New Jersey Town Just Banned Texting While Walking

Submitted by on May 14, 2012 – 10:43 amNo Comment

Everyone knows that texting while driving can be very dangerous. Every year, thousands of accidents—both major and minor—are caused by drivers texting when they’re supposed to be concentrating on the road. However, what about texting while walking?

In the past, we’ve certainly seen our fair share of accidents that have occurred because of texting while walking. People have tripped and fallen. They’ve walked into poles, parked cars, and even bears. And, they’ve run into other people walking down the street. But, certainly, texting while walking isn’t a criminal offense…right? I mean, outside of a little embarrassment, it’s not like people deserve to be penalized for texting while walking.

Well, if you’re a resident of one New Jersey town—or you just happen to be passing through it sometime in the future—you do have to be mindful of texting while walking. More specifically, you have to avoid doing it at all costs, because a new law in town bans it and makes it illegal. That New Jersey town is Fort Lee, N.J. and the chief of police there says that the town has started handing out $85 jaywalking tickets to pedestrians who insist on texting while walking.

“It’s a big distraction,” Fort Lee Police Department chief Thomas Ripoli said recently. “Pedestrians aren’t watching where they are going and they are not aware.”

Already, more than 100 texting while walking tickets have been handed out in Fort Lee, N.J. And while residents have complained that $85 is a lot of money for someone to pay simply for sending a text message, the town isn’t planning on doing away with the tickets anytime soon. Ripoli says that he wants to send a clear message to Fort Lee residents: That texting while walking does impair you and that you need to be mindful of what you’re doing when you’re walking around the town.

Still, 85 bucks seems like a pretty harsh penalty for texting. Do you think this is a good law—or is it ridiculous to fine someone simply for using their smart phone?

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