Watch CBS News

Growing Number Of US States Aiming To Make Texting While Walking Illegal

NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – A new proposal working its way through the New York state is taking aim at people who walk and text.

Under the plan, so-called cellphone zombies could be fined for distracted walking.

Instagram, snapchat, photography, texting…none of that should be done while crossing city streets, though it happens at an alarming rate, even during rush hour.

"You need to be aware of your surroundings and they're not," said NYC resident Marie Sudik.

But, a new bill, sponsored by New York state Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and New York State Senator John Liu could make that a crime.

"We're just saying, just wait the five seconds, wait until you're on the other side of the street and then start texting again," said Sen. Liu.

The measure would apply to all portable electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, and gaming devices.

Those making calls to a doctor or 911 would be exempt.

The proposal would hit first time offenders with a ticket of up to $150 for distracted walking. Repeat offenders could face penalties of up to $250.

Last year, Honolulu became the first major city to target distracted walkers with fines.

Similar efforts introduced in Arkansas, Illinois and Nevada have failed.

Senator Liu hopes New York will follow Hawaii's lead and make people pay more attention while crossing the road.

"The goal is simple, it's to keep people safe," said Sen. Liu.

According to a Governors Highway Safety Association report, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were struck and killed by motor vehicles in 2017.

It's unclear how many of those deaths were a result of distracted walking.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.