N.J. government officials are proposing a law that would ban “distracted” walking. Pedestrians could be fined a minimum of $50, or even worse, land 15 days in jail for this offense.
You know what this reminds me of? High school gum chewing policies. Sure, I wasn’t allowed to chew gum during class, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t. I’d just stick Orbit to the roof of my mouth, and then chomp like a crazy person when the teacher wasn’t looking.
Democratic assemblywoman, Pamela Lampitt, backs up her proposition with this data: injuries involving pedestrians and cellphones have more than doubled from 2005 – 2010.
Um. Ok, so like from 3 to 7 orrrr … ?
In theory, this sounds like a decent idea. Considering 32 pedestrians were killed last year in distracted related accidents, one might even suggest the potential effectiveness of this ban.
But, let me ask you this.
Do you check your email while walking?
Oops. #Sorrynotsorry, fellow entrepreneurs and digitally connected business owners. Before refreshing your email, you must come to a complete stop. Why? Because N.J. says so.
Do you take videos or pictures while walking?
Yeah, we’re talking to you, you avid Snapchatters. Picture this. You whip out your phone, send a silly video snap to your significant other, and in a matter of seconds, you’re cuffed and carted off to jail.
Am I being a bit dramatic? Maybe. But, this is definitely a semi realistic scenario.
Now, let’s just say this bill passes with flying colors.
What about wearable devices?
So I can’t text on my smartphone while walking, but can I use my Apple Watch. Hmm. If we’re already finding ways around this law, I’m gonna go ahead and assume that the ban won’t be effective.
So, no to iPods then?
I’m jamming out on my walk to work. All of the sudden, Nickelback comes on. You’re telling me I can’t take out my phone, while still walking, and change the song? Now THAT, is a true crime.
What about any distracting activity that could cause potential injury?
My fly is unzipped. Can I look down and zip it while walking? Is there a certain time frame that labels you “distracted?” Like sure, you can look down for two seconds MAX to zip your fly, but you can’t take three seconds to compose a text. Yeah, starting to sound not so reasonable now, isn’t it?
See, here’s the thing. This law would make sense if “distracted walking” encompassed everything from blowing your nose to looking down at your shoes. To be fair, we must include all forms of multitasking.
And then, if that was the case, I picture every single pedestrian taking on robot form. Looking straight ahead, eyes wide open, with a innate fear of getting fined for letting their eyes shift in the slightest.
Come on Jersey. Get a grip.
Director of Content Management at SlickText.com