No we didn’t make a typo and no this isn’t a joke. Nevada assemblyman Harvey Munford’s latest bill proposal would ban walking while texting.
Assembly Bill 123, which was proposed on Thursday, is seeking to put a stop to American’s dangerous texting habits. Most states have already made a lot of progress in their fight against texting while driving, but very few have given their attention to texting while walking.
Munford feels like texting while walking is just as dangerous as texting while driving, especially when people are crossing the street.
Now don’t think you’re going to go to jail for not being able to put your phone down, but if you decide not to take the new law seriously you might find yourself sending some very expensive text messages.
First time offenders would receive only a warning, which seems fair enough. After the first time, however, all mercy is tucked away and you’re slapped with a $100 fine. Do it again and your fine increases to $250 – so you better make sure those text messages are worth that much.
While everyone will be required to follow the new law in Nevada, the assemblyman did have a specific demographic in mind – the youth.
According to Munford, it’s the kids who are the highest risk when it comes to texting while walking especially when they are finally let out of school.
“I was just amazed by what I saw,” he explained after taking time to observe the texting behaviors of pedestrians. “So many people are almost oblivious. They are texting and texting, totally unaware as they cross even six-lane highways. When kids get out of school, where they’ve been banned from using their phones all day, they go immediately to their texts.”
If you’re thinking he is just irritated with children being engulfed into the world of technology, he actually has a pretty good reason for why the children’s texting troubled him so much. It’s all about their safety.
“I’ve seen several close calls myself where people have almost been hit,” he added. “Kids are so addicted to those things. It’s almost become a plague.”
Well it may “almost” be a plague, but it’s already an internet sensation. It seems like every week we are getting new videos featuring oblivious pedestrians falling into manholes, falling into a fountain, or even walking straight into an icy cold canal all because they were consumed by technology.
As someone who has seen many blunders from people who decided to take on walking and texting at the same time I must say I’m actually in support of what the bill is proposing, but there is a catch.
This bill is saying more than “don’t text and walk.” When you think about it, it’s also saying Americans just aren’t smart enough to make their own decisions. When it comes to something as simple as knowing that it’s not safe to cross the street and text at the same time, you have to wonder why we even need government intervention.
It’s extremely unfortunate that most people haven’t consciously decided not to text and cross the street at the same time.
As for the bill itself, there are some questions that have been unanswered as far as the media goes.
For one, does the ban on texting while walking also ban voice activated texting? Technically that is still a form of texting even though you don’t even have to look at your phone to type the message. And then what about those strange and somewhat talented freaks of nature who can type without looking at their phone? If they are able to actually watch the road, check for cars, and text at the same time should they still be slapped with a hefty fine?
Perhaps one of the biggest “loopholes” is the fact that the wording of the bill. For now, it’s uncertain if the new law would only ban texting cross the street or texting while walking at all. Also, what about all the other apps and programs that people use on their phones? Is it only texting that’s banned or will any use of a mobile device (other than making a phone call) be banned while walking?
Munford is working with officials in Seattle to fine tune the bill because they are considering proposing a texting while walking ban as well.
The town of Fort Lee, N.J. already beat everyone to the punch however as they enacted their texting while walking ban last year.
So what do you think? Do you think texting while walking is something that needs government intervention? Or should we be held responsible for knowing when is the right time to just put our phones away for the sake of our safety and others?