Update 5/14/12 – MSNBC’s Rosa Golijan is reporting that the hype surrounding the “texting while walking” ban highlighted below is false. It seems a snowball started rolling down a hill, a word was added here, changed there and…viola. Internet hype. As it turns out, the jaywalking fine for not paying attention whilst walking is only issued if allowing yourself to be distracted and jaywalking. Simply walking without a care in the world, nose glued to your phone and prancing down the street will not immediately result in a costly fine.
Gadgetsteria regrets the error.
What to hear of the latest knee jerk reaction by a local government trying to “protect” its citizens? Step on down Fort Lee, New Jersey council/city officials. They have won the award for latest stupid law.
The law: A ban on texting while walking. Yes…walking. Anyone seen walking down the sidewalk/street in public will be handed an $85 fine. According to local officials, 20 people have been hit so far this year.
According to local Police Chief Thomas Ripoli, whom says the city’s law enforcement are looking for *rolls eyes* “dangerous walkers”:
“It’s (cellphones) a big distraction. Pedestrians aren’t watching where they’re going. They’re not aware.”
So will distractions for people listening to music, talking to friends, and simply not looking where they’re going also be fined? No. Of course not. People like to blame everything on electronics as being the most distracting piece of our lives. Society likes to blame electronics as the defacto distraction for anything bad that happens. In reality, this latest fine is like most other laws/fines — a money grab.
In our eyes, 20 people is far too little to be considered an epidemic of spatially unaware people. That said, the law will do absolutely nothing to “teach” people to be more “aware”. Instead, it will only make Fort Lee look like a bunch of over-obsessing hypochondriacs looking to legislate their way to an un-obtainable “safe bubble”.