By Dawn Cranfield
Proposed Bill Will Make it Illegal to Text and Walk – Another Affront to Common Sense
Nevada Assemblyman, Harvey Munford, has sponsored a bill making it illegal to walk and text at the same time. The bill was introduced last Thursday and proposes a ban on walking and texting or reading phones while crossing the street.
Assembly Bill 123 would apply to rural communities as well as busy city streets.
A first time offender would be given a warning, second offenses would warrant a $100 fine, while a third time offense would merit a $250 fine.
The controversial bill is being criticized by some, supported by others.
Jessica Lerner states, “I don’t think you should be walking in traffic and be using your cellphone. It’s too distracting and you’re not paying attention to your surroundings.” (ktnv.com)
Those who believe the bill is unnecessary have made comments such as, “I think it is a little extreme,” and “People need to take more responsibility for what they’re doing,” and, “It’s just like driving and texting. People are still going to do it.” (ktnv.com)
In creating the bill, Munford cited a study in Seattle regarding pedestrians crossing the street. One thousand people were studied crossing 20 intersections with only 25% of people following all of the prescribed safety rules with texting being the riskiest behavior.
Munford’s bill specifically targets young people; he believes they are among the biggest offenders. “‘When kids get out of school, where they’ve been banned from using their phones all day, they go immediately to their texts,’” he told The Times. “I’ve seen several close calls myself where people have almost been hit. Kids are so addicted to those things. It’s almost become a plague.’” (latimes.com)
Emergency phone calls and utility workers responding to dispatches would be excluded from the ban.
If Nevada passes the bill, they would not be the first to enact such a law; Fort Lee, NJ, issued a ban of texting while crossing the road last year.