Cities consider laws banning texting and walking - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Cities consider laws banning texting and walking

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INDIANAPOLIS -

We already have a law making it illegal to text and drive, but some towns are now enforcing laws against texting and walking.

Lawmakers in Arkansas and New York are trying to pass laws to ban pedestrians from using their cell phones while crossing the street.

Videos showing people doing the same have gone viral on YouTube.

A news chopper captured a bear wandering around a California neighborhood last month. It had television viewers' attention, but not that of a man walking down the same street, focused on his phone and texting. He looked up just in time to avoid what would likely have been an unforgettable encounter with nature on four legs.

Then there was the lady so engrossed in texting on her cell phone in the mall, she didn't see the fountain in front of her, until it was too late. You can hear the laughing of the people who posted the video.

It's really no laughing matter, though, say people who admitted they've done the same thing, paying more attention to their phones than what was going on around them.

"I think its becoming a bad habit," said Niecy Jones, who was talking on her cell phone when she noticed us filming her and stopped to ask what our story was about.

"It is definitely becoming more common," said Megan King as she walked downtown.

That's just what we found when we spent 30 minutes on Monument Circle. Several people were walking and texting. Some just had their heads down, focused on their phones.

Most states have already tackled drivers distracted by texting, now New York and Arkansas are trying to pass laws banning the use of mobile devices while walking.

"If you're walking and texting and you happen to walk out into traffic, you're on your own and there's a good chance you could get hurt badly," said Dr. Joseph O'Neil with IU Health.

O'Neil helped draft Indiana's ban on texting while driving, but he's not sure the same is necessary for texting pedestrians.

"I think common sense should prevail. I don't know if we need to legislate down to that," he said.

At least one town in New Jersey feels differently. In Fort Lee, police have written more than 100 citations for texting and walking.

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