Every day I’m annoyed by people walking around the city distracted by smartphones and music players and not paying attention to anything going on around them. They stop abruptly in the middle of walking to read a text, so that you have to trip over yourself to avoid walking into them; they step off the curb and nearly get hit by vehicles; while talking on the phone they weave all over the sidewalk like toddlers. While I have long viewed this problem as a social malaise, lawmakers in at least two states see it as a safety issue and are proposing laws to control it.
According to New York State Senator Carl Kruger, who represents part of Brooklyn, two fatalities caused by use of personal electronic devices have occurred in his district, including the death of a man who walked in front of a bus while listening to his iPod. His proposed legislation would make using such devices while in major city crosswalks illegal.
Arkansas State Senator Jimmy Jeffress is also introducing a bill that would restrict pedestrians’ use of cell phones and music players. A headphone in one ear would be OK, but not both ears.
No word on whether anyone is proposing such measures in Pennsylvania, where a distracted woman walked into a mall fountain recently. There’s a lot of annoying giggling in this video:
I guess it’s funny until someone gets hurt.