No matter how important your text might be, if you're crossing the street, New York thinks it can wait.
New York state Sen. John Liu introduced a bill last week that would ban texting while walking. Pedestrians could be fined between $25 and $250 if they're seen "using any portable device" while crossing a roadway, according to a copy of the bill obtained by The Guardian.
"Using" a device means looking at it, playing games, being online, sending emails, texting and more, according to the bill. The legislation makes exceptions for emergency first-responders and those trying to contact hospitals, fire departments, police and other emergency services.
"This bill in no way absolves drivers of their mandate to yield to pedestrians, and simply reminds people to resume texting after getting across the street safely," Liu said in an emailed statement.
Marco Conner, interim executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said he is opposed to the bill.
"We should first identify the problem and the cause," Conner said.
Conner said that Liu fails to cite data that pedestrians are the ones causing their own injuries or deaths by walking into traffic while distracted. Instead, Conner said a recent rise in pedestrian fatalities nationwide "is believed to all be driver related."
In terms of solutions, Conner said he doesn't see more regulation of phones as the answer. Conner said reducing vehicle speeds and reducing the number of vehicles on the streets should be priorities instead.