The First to Fall? A Proposed Bill Could Make Texting and Walking Illegal in New Jersey

So you think you’re a law abiding citizen? Well, that could all be about to change; because those guilty of texting and walking – so basically, ALL of us – will officially be committing a crime in New Jersey, if a new bill is passed.

If the bill does come to fruition, it will see those who text while walking receive the same penalty as jaywalkers in the U.S. state.

Crafting the perfect witticism in 140 characters or less or replying to your incessant Whats App group chat simply cannot wait in this technological age. And since we’re evolutionary creatures, we’ve learned how to do texting and walking.

And we do it reasonably well. Competently enough that our friends can just about decipher what we’re trying to say through all the typos and auto-corrects. But badly enough that a Governor’s Highway Safety Association cited texting while walking as partly to blame for the increase in pedestrian fatalities in 2015.

Which makes 2015 a very big dumb year for humans, seeing how more of us died from taking selfies than shark attacks, and Mumbai (home to 40 per cent of all registered selfie deaths since 2014) officially declared sixteen areas of it’s city “no-selfie zones“.

So, since humans won’t stop doing something unless they are fined cash money for it (or worse), New Jersey Assembly woman, Pamela R. Lampitt, has proposed a bill that would give fines of up to $50 and potentially 15 days in jail for pedestrians who are caught using their cellphones while walking on public sidewalks and roads.

It may seem a little punitive – but given that we’re talking about actual deaths from texting and walking and not just slapstick slips and lol-worthy trips from these lapses in concentration, perhaps we should start paying more attention.

This certainly wouldn’t be the first time people have been fined for doing stupid things they refuse to quit for reasons like health, common-sense and not-being-a-complete-moron. Drinking and driving, speeding and smoking are all fine-able offences that the memo “Please STOP doing this to avoid the death of yourself and/or others around you” was not enough to terminate.

And unlike many of these fines, Lampitt says that half of it would go towards safety education about the dangers of texting and walking.

People don’t seem like they’re about to stop using their phones on the go, just as we’re not about to stop taking selfies or doing other self-destructive things that could end in disaster. So perhaps this is the only way to reduce the inherent dangers.

Personally, I vote for 15 days in jail for repeat offenders who text and walk – mostly because it would be amusing to see those incarcerated beg the prison guards for an update on their Facebook notifications.