In New York City, it seems no one can afford to miss a text or email even if that means checking their phones when crossing the street. But soon you can be hit with a fine. A bill banning texting while walking has been introduced to New York’s state senate.
If the bill passes into law, New Yorkers can expect to be fined from $25 to $250 if police officers catch them “using a portable electronic device while crossing a roadway”. There are some people who would be exempted, including “an emergency response operator” and employees of a hospital, physician’s office or fire department, among others. About 300 pedestrian fatalities occur annually in New York state. And while it’s unclear how many of these deaths happened because a pedestrian wasn’t looking while walking, John Liu, the New York state senator who introduced the bill, is determined to lower that figure significantly. “[The bill] does not say you can’t talk on the phone,” Liu said. “We’re talking about handheld devices … you can wait the five seconds to get to the other side.”