FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Forget dangerous driving, pedestrians are the new threat to street safety — phone calls, texting, music and wandering into traffic. Now, one New Jersey town is cracking down on the practice.
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Fort Lee’s police chief has seen his share of careless pedestrians texting or talking on the phone in his own town. He said he has counted 23 pedestrian accidents since January, ranging from minor bumps and bruises to three fatalities.
After trying pamphlets and brochures, he’s ordering his officers to ticket careless pedestrians on the spot.
“They’re not alert and they’re not watching what they’re doing,” Police Chief Thomas Ripoli told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis. “As of now, they are to give summonses to pedestrians who do not adhere to crosswalks and the lights.”
Unlike careless driving, there’s no specific charge for being a careless pedestrian, but Chief Ripoli said his officers are watching, adding they’ll know it when they see it.
Mario Petris can certainly attest to the dangers. One of his personal training clients was hit and killed two months ago.
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“She was on the cell phone and she got hit by a car, fatal accident,” Petris said.
The problem has gotten so bad, careless pedestrians in Fort Lee could be committing a fatal offense. Fort Lee is also cracking down on careless drivers, who could face a $200 fine.