A 2019 report by the Governors Highway Safety Association estimated that 6,227 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2018. This is the highest number in almost three decades.
All of us are guilty of using our phones while walking. All of us. We also know that we become careless to notice what's happening around you when you're on the phone. Most accidents happen when we're busy on the phone and fail to notice what's happening around us, especially while crossing the streets. According to CNN, texting or using your phone while crossing the street might become illegal.
A bill in the New York State Senate hopes to ban pedestrians from using their phones or any other portable electric devices while crossing the road. Fines would range from $25 to $250. Of course, with the exception of emergencies, texting, checking emails, and browsing the internet would be included in the statewide ban. The bill was introduced in the state Senate last year Assembly Member Felix W. Ortiz.
Then, State SenatorJohn Liu introduced a version in the Senate last week in the hopes of escalating the issue forward. "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," said Liu. "We want New Yorkers to know it's OK to wait the 5 seconds." It's bad enough that people constantly bump into others because they're too engrossed in their phones.
Before the bill comes to a full vote, it must be approved by the transportation committees in both the Assembly and the Senate. But, the chair of the Senate Transport Committee, Sen. Tim Kennedy seems to have his doubts with regard to this bill. "I don't support the concept in its current form," Kennedy said. "As someone who has rallied for significant pedestrian safety reforms for years, I prioritize the protection and security of all New Yorkers, but it appears to me as though this is an overreach of government."
New York City is not the first place to try an implement such a law. Honolulu, in 2017, passed a similar law, where they approved a law making it illegal for pedestrians to "cross a street or highway while viewing a mobile electronic device." The law covers video games, pagers and laptops, and ubiquitous smartphones. There are several reasons for this, one of the possible reasons: "distraction due to the growing use of smartphone technology."
There is a good reason why this law could be useful in saving lives once it's passed. A 2019 report by the Governors Highway Safety Association estimated that 6,227 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2018. This is the highest number in almost three decades. The report cited "the large growth in smartphone use" as a possible reason. There is a connection between accidents and using your smartphone.
When it turns dark, around 75 percent of fatalities occur, with alcohol contributing to an estimated 32 percent of fatalities. "Sometimes even proposing legislation reminds people of common sense things to do and common-sense things not to do," Liu said. "If nothing else, the mere introduction of this bill has got people talking and thinking." As they always say, prevention is better than cure, and what better way to prevent an accident?