New York looks to ban texting and walking

Must See 23/05/2019

A Bill proposed to the New York Senate would make it illegal to cross the road while texting would see pedestrians fined up to NZ$382 (US$250) if accepted.

Last week, State Senator John Liu introduced a version into the Senate, in the hopes of moving it forward faster after it was first launched by Assembly member Felix W. Oritz. 

"It's hard not to notice the number of people texting while walking, and downright alarming to see people continuing their texting while crossing the street," Liu told CNN.

"We want New Yorkers to know it's okay to wait five seconds."

The Bill would ban texting, checking emails and browsing the internet while crossing the road. The only exception would be for emergencies, reports CNN.

Fines for flouting the law would range from NZ$38 (US$25) to NZ$382 (US$250.)

Before it can come to a full vote, it must be approved by transport committees in the Assembly and the Senate.

However, the Chair of the Senate transport committee has expressed concern regarding the Bill.

"I don't support the concept in its current form," Tim Kennedy told CNN.

"As someone who has rallied for significant pedestrian safety reforms for years, I prioritise the protection and security of all New Yorkers, but it appears to me as though this is an overreach of government."

A 2019 report by the Governors Highway Safety Association showed 6,227 pedestrians in America were killed in traffic crashes last year.

That's the highest figure in almost 30 years.

The large growth in cellphone use was cited as a possible cause for the spike in fatalities.