Should You Be Fined for Texting While Walking?

Texting While Walking

{Photo attribution: Ed Yourdon/JohnnyMrNinja (CC)}

You are out for a walk and receive a text.  You continue walking while responding. Is that a crime?  Should you be fined for texting while walking?

Hopefully, we are all aware of the dangers associated with texting and driving, but increasingly the hazards of texting and walking are becoming known.

We’ve all seen people walking down a busy street, heads down and fingers moving over the keyboard or scrolling through their emails.  They bump into walls, poles, us or each other. They fall down stairs and step into traffic. These are just some of the many accidents that can occur if you are a distracted walker.

I recently saw a person step into a busy intersection without even lifting his head. Thankfully, the honking of a car horn saved this individual from harm, but the outcome could have been much worse.

According to Dietrich Jehle, professor of emergency medicine at the University at Buffalo:

“Historically, pedestrian accidents affected children, the intoxicated or the elderly, says Jehle. However, cell phone related injuries have skyrocketed over the past 10 years, coinciding with the rise of smartphones.” (1.)

At first I thought it would be ludicrous to fine someone for texting while walking.  We’ve all done it, it isn’t harming anyone.  Or is it?

Not only are we running the risk of harm to ourselves, we have to consider the collateral damage that could be inflicted.  A driver swerving to avoid a distracted walker could easily cause a chain reaction of secondary damage.

When I started to really think about it, I realized that a person’s distracted walking could cause not only harm to themselves, but harm to others.

Then there is the high cost of medical care for an injured distracted walker.  Who is paying for this care?  You and I are.

Just maybe, in the interest of the innocent around us, texting while walking should be a fineable offence.

Some jurisdictions in Canada, the US and other countries are considering fines for distracted walkers. What do you think?  Should you be subject to fines for texting while walking?

(1) http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2014/02/022.html#sthash.O3LnTr9h.dpuf

 

Comments

  1. Where should this be law? City streets, your neighborhood sidewalk, rural areas? Where will it stop?

  2. i kind of think this should be a thing but for us who do pay attention it would be awful. i mostly see kids, teens and young adults not paying attention as i have seen my own neice walk into a lamp post and split her head open enough she had to get stitches.

  3. I could see the purpose of it but this can leave the door open for getting ticketed for other things while walking. I think if it is made a law then it should be clearly defined.
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