Texting while walking: Worth the ticket?

By Anna Vandergriff

It’s quite understandable that texting while driving was banned, but texting while walking? In the New Jersey town of Fort Lee, city police are now issuing $85 tickets to any who is texting while walking. But is texting while walking really dangerous? According to the North Jersey news website, 74 pedestrians have been killed due to texting while walking just last year, and 117 tickets have already been issued. However, the law specifically states that texting while jaywalking is illegal, which was to reinforce an already present law.

But this issue is also prevalent at Tam, and I’m sure almost every student has witnessed it. “I was walking down the street and texting my mom,” said sophomore Monica Bi, “and I walked, forehead first, into a metal pole. An old man didn’t even ask if I was okay, he just started laughing.”

Sophomore Henna Arvind experienced the same situation. “I was walking while texting someone and I ran into a pole. Luckily no one noticed, but it was super embarassing.”

“There have been some outrageous viral videos of people distracted while texting. Recently, a Los Angeles man almost ran into a bear while texting. Another video shows a woman in a mall who fell into a water fountain because she was distracted from texting. The woman who fell in the fountain regretted her carelessness in retrospect, emphasizing the dangers of texting while walking,” reported CBS News.

“We want to raise awareness that a real disruption occurs because of texting,” Eric Lamberg, co-author of the study that focused on walking and texting, told Long Island Business News. “Texting disrupts your ability much more than talking does.” But if you were to use that logic, walking while reading a book should be banned, or walking while listening to music, or even the heavily satirized, chewing gum while walking.

To me, this seems like an extreme measure and I certainly hope that it doesn’t spread any farther than Fort Lee. Although I have witnessed people trip, walk into things, and be generally distracted while texting, I think that it is up to a pedestrian to watch were they are walking. Remembering to occasionally glance upwards while you’re texting will most definitely not slow down your rate of communication and might possibly even save your life.