WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A ban may soon be imposed by the New York State Senate on people texting or surfing the net while crossing the road.
- The new bill is being sought by State Senator John Liu who says it’s rather disturbing to see so many pedestrians using their phones while crossing the New York streets.
- The ban, which also proposed fines from $25 to $250, excludes emergencies.
It can be pretty challenging to cross streets in New York. But more so, if you’re paying more attention to your phone than the honking cab or zooming cyclist.
Now, doing this may soon be made illegal.
The New York State Senate is currently pushing for a statewide ban on pedestrians from using their cellular phones while crossing the streets. Fines ranging between $25 and $250 will be imposed. With the exception of emergencies, the ban would include texting, checking mails and surfing the internet.
Last year, Assembly Member Felix W. Ortiz introduced the bill in the State Assembly. Then, a version of it was introduced last week by State Senator John Liu in the Senate in his efforts to further promote the issue.
Liu told CNN that while it’s a common thing to see people texting while walking, it’s practically alarming to “see people who continue their texting while crossing the street.”
“We want New Yorkers to know it’s OK to wait the 5 seconds,” added Liu.
Before it can come to a full vote, the bill needs approval from the transportation committees in both the Assembly and the Senate. However, Senate Transport Committee Chairman Sen. Tim Kennedy has stated his misgivings.
In a statement to CNN, Kennedy said he doesn’t support the idea in its present form. “As someone who has rallied for significant pedestrian safety reforms for years, I prioritize the protection and security of all New Yorkers, but it appears to me as though this is an overreach of government.”
Meanwhile, a similar law that seemed to be the first of its kind known as the “distracted pedestrian” law was passed in Honolulu in 2017.
According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, “the large growth in smartphone use” was cited as the likely reason for the nearly 6,227 number of pedestrians reportedly killed in traffic crashes in 2018.
Liu also said that proposing legislation sometimes remind people to do sensible things or not. “If nothing else, the mere introduction of this bill has got people talking and thinking