NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After targeting distracted drivers, some New York lawmakers want to go after distracted walkers. They are looking to ban them from using iPods, music players and cell phones while walking and crossing the street.
At E.A.T. restaurant on Madison Avenue they still haven’t gotten over the death of co-worker Jason King, killed last month while listening to his iPod as he crossed the street in a crosswalk with a green light in his direction. Jason was run over by a truck that was backing up.
“He was everything to us. He was always laughing, always in a good mood,” co-worker Nunny Sanchez told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
“We all miss him dearly like crazy. He was the light of E.A.T. I miss him a lot,” Josephina Medina added.
Jason was just 21 and his death and along with other accidents involving people using electronic gadgets while walking is why Brooklyn Sen. Karl Kruger is looking to ban things like cell phones and iPods for pedestrians crossing the street.
“We have people who are literally dying in the street,” Kruger said.
Dying, Kruger said, not because they are distracted drivers but because they are distracted walkers. Charles Tabasso, 14, admitted he’s one of them because he listens to his iPod constantly.
“I would probably get run over right now if it weren’t for my awesome parents,” Tabasso said.
His mom agreed.
“As a parent I am definitely in favor of banning these things,” Tullia Tabasso said.
The proposal was triggered by accidents like a woman tripping into a fountain while texting, but not everyone thinks the ban is a good idea, even King’s co-workers.
“I mean I, myself, I walk around in the street hearing music because I don’t want to hear nobody around me or nothing,” Medina said.
“I think it’s terrible. Come on. We need something to keep our mind occupied while we’re walking to work,” said Luevonia Simmons of Old Bridge, N.J.
Some said they object to the move as an intrusion by government into the everyday lives of people — the nanny state syndrome.
“When people are doing things that are detrimental to their own well being, then government should step in,” Kruger said.
The fine for violating the law would be $100, which supporters hope will be enough to stem what they think is a disturbing trend — a slight increase in fatalities.
An Arkansas lawmaker who had proposed as similar bill dropped it Monday. He said he didn’t think it had a chance of passing, but had brought needed attention to the issue.