Concerns over ‘distracted walking’ grow as injuries mount

In this July 10, 2012 file photo, a pedestrians text messages while crossing the street in downtown Washington. In this July 10,, 2012 file photo, a pedestrians text messages while crossing the street in downtown Washington.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Walk down most streets in New Jersey, and you’ll see someone using an electronic device to text, listen to music or do other tasks.

But if a “distracted walking” measure recently proposed by a state assemblywoman eventually becomes law, those people could be facing fines or even jail time. 

The measure would ban walking while texting and bar pedestrians on public roads from using electronic communication devices unless they are hands-free. Violators would face fines of up to $50, 15 days imprisonment or both, which is the same penalty as jaywalking.

Half of the fine would be allocated to safety education about the dangers of walking and texting.

Some see the proposal as an unnecessary government overreach. But most agree people need to be made aware of the issue rather than taking for granted that nothing bad will happen to them.

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