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May 14, 2012

Texting While Walking Banned in New Jersey?

By Julie Griffin, Contributing Writer

Remember the video on YouTube (News - Alert) of a woman who fell into a mall fountain who was too engrossed in texting to watch where she walked? She later whined about how embarrassing the ordeal was and earnestly warned to viewers that, “It’s dangerous.”

Although she didn’t suffer from any real injuries, she was also walking indoors, away from the dangers of outdoor traffic. A New Jersey city was reported to have banned texting while walking, and although details of the report were misconstrued, the issue has many people talking about this recent concept of “dangerous walking.”

For people who were following the report by ABC that Fort Lee, New Jersey banned texting while walking, Mobile Burn clarified that the law actually prohibits texting while jaywalking.

Previous reports claim violators of this crime could face up to $85 in fines; however, Fort Lee’s chief of police Thomas Ripoli implores MSNBC to stop believing everything we read on the internet. If people are found reading or composing texts while jaywalking, they could receive a $54 ticket.

Some may suggest generating this publicity might have something to do with the fact that in this particular town, a population of 35,000, three fatalities and 20 pedestrian-related accidents have been reported this year.

A study by Stony Brook University indicated that texting impairs memory-functions associated with travel-by-foot, and 61 percent of participants who were texting and walking, veered off course.

“We want to raise awareness that a real disruption occurs because of texting,” said Eric Lamberg, a co-author of the study. “Texting disrupts your ability much more than does talking.”

Fort Lee New Jersey generated tons of press over the rumor, but it seems as though they made the point without having to establish a law that bans citizens from walking and texting. For many people, colliding into an unhappy person on the sidewalk that sneers, “Watch out where you’re going,” is enough. For everybody else who doesn’t feel displaying proper manners is necessary, perhaps they should worry about their own safety.

ABC did report on “Dangerous Walking,” where they took their cameras to heavily populated pedestrian areas in New York. One man said, “So you want us to stop and stand still while we’re texting, and then move forward?” He thought about this for a minute, and then said, “Yeah, that doesn’t seem like a big deal.”

Edited by Braden Becker
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