If a new bill becomes law, you might find yourself in jail for texting and walking in New Jersey.
Last week, New Jersey Legislature introduced a measure that would outlaw texting while walking. If it passes, the penalty could be a $50 fine, 15 days in jail or both.
New Jersey already has a distracted driving ban, violations of which can cost offenders up to $400 for the first infraction. Expanding the ban to walking would increase the state’s traffic safety laws even more.
Studies have found that texting can turn the simple act of walking into something much more perilous. Accidents related to distracted walking have jumped 35 percent since 2010, according to reports from CBS.
According to research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, people texting while crossing the road are twice as likely to be hit by a car than people talking on their phones.
Distracted walking can be as deadly as distracted driving, according to recent reports. So the question is how can you stop people from using their cellular devices for music, conversations, reading emails and texts, and sending emails and texts while walking? New Jersey is hoping to put an end to the distracted walking by getting government involved, but others disagree and feel that personal responsibility should be emphasized.
There are not enough police officers to be at every intersection to fine or arrest every single person who is texting while crossing the street, so it is up to each individual to behave responsibly and to encourage everyone else to do so as well. This is more than just a courtesy reminder, it could very well be a matter of life and death.
At this time, Florida does not have any new bills similar to New Jersey’s that could soon be law. However, if the bill does pass and become law, we may see more states following with similar rules, especially if the number of injuries and deaths decrease. Only time will tell for now.