Stamford Officials Eye Legislation That Would Outlaw ‘Distracted Walking’

STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Drivers aren’t the only ones who could be fined for texting or talking.

Now, there’s a proposal to keep pedestrians safe that could set off a national trend.

Crossing busy Broad Street in downtown Stamford can be a challenge, even if you’re not staring down at text messages on your cell phone.

“I see mothers pushing their babies, they’re texting and I’m like how do y’all do all this at this intersection? That scares me,” Dawn Thompson said.

“There been many times where I looked down on my phone and then notice that there’s a car coming right at me, and I feel like a moron whenever that happens,” Nicole Neurohr said.

Texting or even talking on an electronic device may soon be illegal in Stamford if a proposal to outlaw ‘distracted walking’ is approved.

“They’re oblivious to cars,” Stamford City representative, John Zelinsky said.

Zelinsky said the Pedestrian Safety Ordinance is modeled after one approved in Honolulu late last month, and would carry a $30 fine if police catch you in the act.

“I don’t want any more injuries or deaths as a result of pedestrians getting hit. We’ve had about four or five within the past three or four years,” he said.

Nationwide pedestrian fatalities jumped about 11 percent last year with nearly 6,000 people killed according to the National Governors’ Highway Safety Association.

While most people in Stamford seemed to like the idea, others asked, do you really need to legislate common sense?

“I think that’s ridiculous,” Troy Latham said.

Latham certainly doesn’t like the idea of a $30 fine or being forced to hang up.

“If it’s an important text message or call they’re getting, like what if it’s too late, what if their mother’s in the hospital and they need someone to call real quick,” Latham said.

There would be an exception for 911 calls, and Zelinsky said the fines really aren’t the point.

“This is not actually to raise money for the city, but to hopefully educate the public,” he said.

You may want to hang up and look the next time you see the ‘walk’ sign.

 

 

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