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New York considers fines for staring at your phone while crossing the road

A lawmaker in the New York State Senate has proposed legislation to prohibit pedestrians from using portable electronic devices while crossing a roadway, except in emergencies.

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A lawmaker in the New York State Senate has proposed legislation to prohibit pedestrians from using portable electronic devices while crossing a road, except in emergencies.

 

The bill by State Senator John C. Liu would include looking at or being otherwise distracted by mobile phones, laptop computers, pagers, electronic games and other devices.

 

The proposed fines come as concerns increase around deaths and injuries to so-called ‘smartphone zombies’.

 

Under the proposals, a first violation would incur a $25-$50 fine; a second violation within 18 months would mean a $50-$100 fine, and a third violation in the same period would result in a $50-$250 penalty.

 

The legislation has been put to the transportation committee for consideration.

 

Taking a stand

 

The proposed fines come as concerns increase around deaths and injuries to so-called ‘smartphone zombies’. In 2017, researchers said a sharp rise in US pedestrian deaths could be partly blamed on people using their smartphones not only while driving but also when crossing the road.

 

In 2017, Honolulu, Hawaii passed its ‘Distracted Walking Law’.

 

In 2017, Honolulu, Hawaii passed its ‘Distracted Walking Law’ and was one of the first places in the world to do so. Minimum fines for breaking this law start at $15 and can be up to $99 for repeat offenders.

 

Montclair, California followed last year, introducing a $100 fine for using headphones or making phone calls or texting while crossing the road.

 

More cities around the world are understood to be considering legislating in this area.

 

Others have avoided the regulatory route for now, deploying preventative tactics such as street signs, warnings from apps and ground-based lights. In 2014, Chongquing in China created a cell phone lane for people to text and walk, while an area in London introduced padded lamp posts in 2008.

 

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