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New Jersey town to issue citations for texting while walking

Distracted driving and texting while driving has made the news a lot lately for how many accidents it causes. But what many people forget is that texting is distracting no matter what you’re doing and even if you aren’t behind the wheel texting can still be a hazardous part of multitasking since it requires so much attention. Pedestrians might not think that walking could be a threat to public safety, but authorities say that the careless behavior is causing accidents and injuries.

One New Jersey police chief has taken action on this issue and has added texting to the list of ticket-able offenses for pedestrians who are violating traffic laws. The citations will be handed out for any sort of dangerous walking behavior, which now includes texting while disobeying traffic signals or jaywalking. 

The new law has gone into effect following a reported 23 pedestrian accidents, including some minor injuries and three fatalities in the town of Fort Lee since the beginning of the year. The ticketing initiative by police is intended to encourage people to be more aware of their surroundings and not carelessly wander into traffic.

Several pedestrians have recently been caught on camera texting and walking into dangerous situations. One woman gained YouTube notoriety after mall security cameras caught her texting as she tripped and fell into an indoor fountain. Another man’s misadventure while texting was captured by a local news helicopter that was following the progress of a black bear that was lose in a residential area. The man almost collided with the bear while he was composing a text and walking down his driveway.

Source: CBS News, “Texting while walking banned in N.J. town,” Chenda Ngak, May 14, 2012. 

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