We’ve all heard about the devastating consequences of texting while driving, but few ever consider the dangers of texting while walking. On London’s Brick Lane, you can see pads wrapped around lamp posts because so many people have hurt themselves as a result of walking into the posts while reading or sending text messages. The powers that be in Fort Lee, New Jersey have taken a different approach to solving that problem.
It’s unclear how New Jersey authorities intend to enforce this new law, but if someone is caught texting while walking, he could be cited for jaywalking and fined as much as $85. This may sound silly, especially to those who regularly commit this offense, but it really isn’t.
If it hasn’t happened already, it’s only a matter of time before someone carelessly steps out into traffic and gets hit by a car, truck or bus or causes an accident. Watching people walk into walls and stumble into water fountains because they’re more focused on looking at their cell phone screens than looking where they’re going is amusing. So is seeing people walking down the street and bumping into trash cans and lamp posts. What wouldn’t be funny is to see someone disappear into an open manhole or fall down a flight of stairs. But these things can and probably do happen, whether we get to see them on YouTube or not.
So far, texting while walking hasn’t caused as much pain and suffering as texting while driving has. Still, it can’t hurt to stop, step aside, send your message and then continue walking. There really are times when multi-tasking isn’t a good idea.