TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A new bill in New Jersey would make it illegal for people to text while walking.
CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Thursday the bill calls for a fine of up to $50, 15 days behind bars, or both, if people are caught texting while walking.
“If a person on the road — whether walking or driving — presents a risk to others on the road, there should be a law in place to dissuade and penalize risky behavior,” Democratic Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, who sponsored the bill, told CBS2.
CBS2 reports that since 2010, there has been a 35 percent increase nationally in the number of accidents related to distracted pedestrians.
“Pay attention to what you’re doing at that moment. Don’t split your time with your phone, with coversations, with anything else,” Al Della Fave of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office told CBS2.
People in Toms River had mixed opinions on the proposed bill.
“I think it’s a pretty silly thing. All the problems we have in the world, we have to worry about somebody walking down the street texting. Maybe some of these politicians should worry about real problems we have in New Jersey,” Michael Graichen said.
“I have been bumped into numerous individuals who are looking at their phone while walking and they slam right into me,” one woman told 1010 WINS’ John Montone.
“I don’t know if it should be a law, but I think that we should make people more aware,” she added later.
One person said, “Their heads are down, they’re texting and not paying attention to what they are doing.”
Terrance O’Neal agreed that people should put down their phones while crossing an intersection.
“Now crossing the street and texting, you probably should get fined for that. Probably should get a ticket for crossing the street and texting,” he told CBS2.
A date has not been set for when the bill will be voted on.