Texting and its dangers, as New Jersey town denies penalty

18 May 2012

Were you ever walking along, merrily tapping away on your phone, only to walk into a lamppost or bulldoze straight into another pedestrian? You wouldn’t be the only one.

Happyplace.com recently included a post about a woman who was out walking on a pier in March, while texting simultaneously. Apparently she fell into Lake Michigan and had to be rescued by police …

Then, there was another incident last year when a woman fell into a fountain in a US mall after she got a bit distracted by her phone. (We’ve a video of that particular incident below).

This week, the dangers of texting while walking came to the fore again when news started circulating that a town in the state of New Jersey in the US had issued a ban on texting while walking. A media storm quickly brewed, with some reports suggesting police in the town would be doling out US$85 fines to any pedestrian caught texting.

Not so, apparently. Fort Lee’s Police chief Thomas Ripoli has issued a statement to dispel rumours that tickets are being issued to anyone caught using mobile phones or musical devices while on the move.

“Despite some information circulating around the internet or some media sources, the Fort Lee Police Department is not issuing tickets to people walking while using electronic devises,” said Ripoli in a press release. “Walking and using such devices is not against the law.”

According to NorthJersey.com, cars struck 74 pedestrians in Fort Lee in 2011, two of them fatally, so the police department has started to issue tickets to make people more aware when they’re out on foot.

Ripoli said the fine is US$54 for anyone caught jaywalking.

But, the whole issue has conjured up the topic of using mobile phones safety.

Just last month, Ford revealed the results of a study that monitored driving behaviour in EU countries. Apparently, nearly half (48pc) of drivers Ford surveyed in countries such as Germany, Spain, France, Great Britain and Italy admit they read texts while they’re behind the wheel.

Now, to lighten the mood, watch the video of the woman who fell into a fountain in a US mall in 2011 here:

Source: YouTube

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic