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Texting while walking in Conn. town may come with a fine

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Drivers aren't the only ones who could be fined for texting or talking, if some local officials have their way.

A proposal in the town of Stamford, Connecticut, aims to keep pedestrians safe and could help set a national trend cracking down on "distracted walking," CBS New York reports

"I see mothers pushing their babies, they're texting and I'm like, 'How do y'all do all this at this intersection?' That scares me," Dawn Thompson said.

"There have been many times where I looked down on my phone and then notice that there's a car coming right at me, and I feel like a moron whenever that happens," Nicole Neurohr said.

Pedestrians crossing the street while texting or talking on an electronic device may soon be illegal in Stamford if a proposal to outlaw distracted walking is approved.

"They're oblivious to cars," Stamford City representative John Zelinsky said.

Zelinsky said the Pedestrian Safety Ordinance is modeled after one approved in Honolulu late last month, and would carry a $30 fine if police catch you in the act.

"I don't want any more injuries or deaths as a result of pedestrians getting hit. We've had about four or five within the past three or four years," he said.

Nationwide pedestrian fatalities jumped about 11 percent last year with nearly 6,000 people killed, according to the National Governors' Highway Safety Association.

One study found that the number of emergency room visits for distracted walking injuries doubled between 2005 and 2010 to more than 1,500, and some experts believe the problem is actually much bigger, because people are reluctant to admit what they were doing.

While many people in Stamford seemed to like the idea of the law, others asked, "Do you really need to legislate common sense?"

"I think that's ridiculous," Troy Latham said.

Latham certainly doesn't like the idea of a $30 fine or being forced to hang up the phone. 

"If it's an important text message or call they're getting, like, what if it's too late, what if their mother's in the hospital and they need someone to call real quick," Latham said.

There would be an exception for 911 calls, and Zelinsky said the fines really aren't the point.

"This is not actually to raise money for the city, but to hopefully educate the public," he said.

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