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Police: Texting While Walking A Safety Concern

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Reports of a ban on texting and walking in a town in New Jersey turned out not to be true, but it's clearly a hot button issue.

A police lieutenant in Fort Lee tells KDKA-TV that they're handing out tickets for jaywalking but not for texting without jaywalking.

Just the same, the false reports got people talking, and last year, a town in Idaho did actually institute a ban on texting while crossing the street.

Maureen Shaughnessy, of Shadyside, says she's guilty of texting and walking.

"Yes, I do. I don't even think about it. That's probably a bad thing," said Shaughnessy.

But in her case, KDKA watched her texting and walking flawlessly, avoiding oncoming pedestrians along Walnut Street and looking up to look both ways before crossing the street.

"Sometimes I see people crossing the street while texting, and there's a car right there!" said Shaughnessy. "They manage not to get hit, but sometimes it's a pretty close call."

Pittsburgh Police Commander Scott Schubert says it's a definitely a safety concern anytime a pedestrian is distracted. However, he's not aware of an increase in crashes or sidewalk mishaps here.

A study done by Stony Brook University in New York showed that even adept texters had a difficult time walking a straight line while texting.

Some, though, do not think the government should get involved.

"If people want to take a chance and put their life in jeopardy, it should be their problem," said Henry Haller of Shadyside.

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