Nev. lawmaker moves to ban texting while walking, cites Seattle study

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textingLAS VEGAS, Nev. — Harvey Munford has heard a lot of talk about the dangers of texting while driving. Now the Nevada assemblyman wants to focus on what he considers an equally perilous scourge: texting while walking, especially across a busy street.

Munford, D-Las Vegas, on Thursday introduced Assembly Bill 123, saying the new law could be applied not to just urban streets but to all state roads, even in residential neighborhoods.

The penalty for offenders: a pricey ticket, including $250 for a third offense. First-timers would get a warning.

Nevada is following the town of Fort Lee, N.J., which last year issued a ban against texting while crossing the street.

Munford told the Los Angeles Times that he began watching for the practice while behind the wheel last year after a complaint by a constituent.

“I was just amazed by what I saw,” he said. “So many people are almost oblivious. They are texting and texting, totally unaware as they cross even six-lane highways.”

He said young people are the biggest offenders.

“When kids get out of school, where they’ve been banned from using their phones all day, they go immediately to their texts,” he told The Times. “I’ve seen several close calls myself where people have almost been hit. Kids are so addicted to those things. It’s almost become a plague.”

Munford said he spoke with officials in Seattle, which he says is also considering such a ban. He said there is little research into how many injuries and deaths might result from the practice, but suggested that his law might lead to a study, at least in Nevada.

In introducing the bill, Munford cited a Seattle study published last year that analyzed pedestrian activity while crossing the street. Researchers observed 1,000 people crossing 20 busy intersections, finding that only 1 in 4 observed all the safety rules. Texting was found to be the riskiest behavior.

Munford also wants to introduce a media campaign that suggests texting while walking is juvenile and dangerous.

The Nevada bill makes exceptions for people in medical emergencies and reporting criminal activity.

“For everybody else,” Munford told The Times, “it’s just a bit of common sense.”

— By John M. Glionna/Los Angeles Times

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  • Leisa

    Are you out of your minds, Why not just ban cell phones all together for everyone including 1st. responders, Hospitals, Airports, Traiuns and Schools. U R nuts to ban texting while walking.

    • James

      what does banning all those you mentioned have to do with banning texting while walking? I don't want people to walk in front of my 30 mph car while driving. If you want to die, don't try to die in my hands.

  • Cameron

    If he has almost hit a few people, regardless of what they are doing, makes me question whether he should be driving or not. And if he actually managed to pass this bill, which I certainly hope is unlikely, it would probably be issued about as often as jaywalking tickets are.

  • Chris

    Have these people been hit? If not, how do you know they're paying attention? Do we not have a sense of hearing? Are drivers unaware of pedestrians? I have a better solution; how about we just apply some common sense in the criminal and civil courts. If these people try to sue or press charges, based upon their own negligence, simply apply the appropriate ruling.

  • T.J.

    i say let them get ran over. be their own stupid fault. heard of one lady walked right into a river cause she was so consumed by her phone. they dont even enforce the driving while on your phone law. see cops doing it ALL the time. people dont even think they need to use their blinkers anymore because they dont have enough hands to operate them. and when you flip them off and tell them how much of a degenerate they are they hold up their cell phone as if it is a valid excuse for neglecting basic driving laws. like i would be all "OHHH! sorry i didnt see you were on the phone buddy" my bad

  • J.D.

    Instead of looking down while texting and walking, try holding your phone up so you can see what you're texting AND where you're walking. Not the end-all solution, but it works.

  • Mike

    When I was visiting Vancouver, I actually saved this random chick from getting ran over from a car that was going pretty fast because she was texting on the phone crossing the street and not looking at all but she started crossing because in her side vision she saw me and another person cross but we went fast bc the light still hadnt changed, lol,and I yelled out hurry up and she just ran across in time phew.

  • Heather

    I find this absolutely ridiculous. For one it's common sense to look out for vehicles before crossing the street. You learn that at a very young age. It's not the texting while walking that is the problem. It's the people who are too ignorant to pick their head up and to look left and right. Just because you have a phone in your hand doesn't mean that is the problem. Yes there are some people who are addicted to it and don't like to wait to read or respond, but mostly they are surfing the web or looking through their contacts, doing anything. It's no different then reading the newspaper or looking down at your phone to look for a certain place. I actually do read a book and walk at the same time. It's not the phone it's the person. Banning it is just ridiculous especially for that much money!

  • johnny gee

    good for vegas.. ban on the following should follow, phone an texting while driving, while dining, and above all in church. this should be enforced nation wide… one more at ticket lines at airports an while ordering meals…

  • mac

    Last week a young student from Las Vegas while studying abroad in Costa Rica was hit by a train while walking and texting and also plugged in to ear phones. She is now minus a leg and has two broken shoulders. Something to think about…

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