City Bans Texting While Walking: Good or Bad Idea?

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I've been bumped on the streets by people who were texting while walking. A thousand times. It's annoying. I guess I should be happy that the town of Fort Lee, New Jersey, have started issuing $85 tickets to any pedestrians caught texting and walking.

Except I'm not. It's a stupid law.

The fact is that I've also been bumped by pedestrians walking their dogs, lovers getting all over each other, people window shopping, fast walkers looking to the other side of the street, smokers looking for a cigarette, kids running around aimlessly, men in a hurry looking at their watches, women looking in their bags, girls browsing their iPods for a new album to play, boys playing Gameboy, and a hundred other combinations. Distractions and collisions happen all the time for a million reasons.


Should the police ban and fine every single distracting activity that could lead to an accident on the sidewalk? If you agree with Fort Lee town officials and Stony Brook University's Eric Lamberg—co-author of a study on the effects of texting on walking—the only logical answer is yes. Lamberg found that texting disrupts your ability to walk much more than does talking (science!), making people 60 percent "more likely to veer off line."

But so would any of the activities described above—things that people do every day on the sidewalks of every city.


And don't think it's a law just for show. Fort Lee is being serious about this: 117 tickets and counting.

What do you think? Should all cities ban texting and walking? Should we ban any other potentially distracting activity? Tell us in the comments. [ABC News]


Image via Supri Suharjoto/Shutterstock