Texting in crosswalks while walking in New Jersey is about to get much more expensive. Cherry Hill Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt has proposed legislation that would require a $50 fine and the possibility of imprisonment for texting while walking in a crosswalk. The penalties for texting while walking would be similar to jaywalking.
The bill is designed to “heighten the awareness of what’s going on around you,” said Lampitt, a Democrat.” Even if you have permission to walk sign to walk, you should not be distracted, you should be aware of what’s going on around you, especially in the street.” Drafting the bill came out of a personal experience, Lampitt said. She works at the University of Pennsylvania and knew a student who was killed after being hit by a bus when he was crossing the street. The student was using his phone when he was struck.
How Dangerous is Texting While Walking?
A research study out of William Patterson University found that distracted walkers have a much higher incidence of injury. Dr. Cory Bach studied more than 21,000 pedestrians at five intersections and discovered that nearly half crossed on a “Don’t Walk” signal, and nearly one-third of pedestrians who crossed on a “Walk” signal were wearing headphones, talking on a mobile phone, and/or looking down at an electronic device.” In 2010, more than 4,000 pedestrians were killed and another 70,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States, according to the study.