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back to article Ban using mobiles while crossing street, says US legislator

UK drivers are banned from talking into mobiles for legitimate reasons, but are walking and talking pedestrians a public health hazard too? One US legislator thinks so, and he’s drawn up a bill banning people from doing that. Republican politician Kenneth Dunkin hopes his bizarre bill will make it illegal to use a mobile phone …

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Coat

Shurely...

the problem would soon solve itself, if the danger is indeed as Dunkin claims?

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Paris Hilton

Just Smash The Phone

The law should read that the cops will take the phone and samsh it to bits right then and there. I am tired of all these oafs walking around with a phone attached to their head. I think not only are they a walking safety violation, but they need serious mental help. They hold up lines in stores and theaters and then act like snobs if you say anything to them. They are a public nuisance.

They are typical Air Heads.

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Coat

enforcement?

Well I guess they must have people on the streets there then as over here where the police are too busy hiding from the public (unless there is a free ticket to a major sporting event in it for them) there is never anyone to catch anyone doing anything.

Mines the paramedic one to make it easier to treat people for shock who have seen a bobby on the beast for the first time in 10 years.

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Paris Hilton

You Have To Be Kidding

I'm a Yank on the West Coast. This has got to be the most rediculous law I have heard in a long time. Ban cell use while crossing the street? WTF? Better ban reading a map while driving, talking to anybody while doing anything, and breathing too. I doubt very much that a bill this asanine will ever get passed.

paris, because SHE would need this law with a gum chewing addition.

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Happy

I have the solution!

I have a solution that would keep both groups of people happy (those who think mobiles cause dangerous distractions, and those that think it's no different to talking to a friend):

Fine people who are hit by cars.

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Illinois = Nanny State

I live in Illinois and we are indeed the dictionary definition of a Nanny State... Smoke Free, Gun Control, No Foie Gras on Chicago menus, etc.

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Paris Hilton

Pansies!~

This is a stupid law.

Let's save the death count for it's own special Darwin Award catagory!

(Paris-- just cause no one would laugh if she was first)

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Boffin

A simple solution

You could sort out drivers and pedestrian mobile use by attaching the mobile to an outlet socket with a wire...... errr.... ohh.....

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What next?

Nanny State.

It's a slippery slope - next thing you know you won't be allowed to use a phone while walking and we won't get to watch idiots walking into poles, slipping on doggy-doo...

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Darwin

It sounds to me as though he's trying to repeal part of Darwin's Law.

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Ian

Why not tackle the root cause?

Why not tackle the root cause? The only way to stop people doing stupid things that might harm themselves is to make stupidity illegal. This would have the positive side effect of putting the vast majority of politicians behind bars.

Two quotes come to mind: The classic redneck's last words "Hay Y'all, watch me!" and Robert Heinlein's "Think of it as evolution in action."

Ian

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Bronze badge

lets ban

eating while driving, putting on make up, shaving, not paying attention to the road.

Oh wait it already is illegal. In California you can get a ticket for doing anything that could be a distraction to your driving. Does not stop people though.

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Bronze badge

oops my fault

didnt read the article carefully enough. He was talking about walking. In that case lets ban old folks, deaf folks , and blind people from crossing the street.

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Pirate

Cart before horse

don't criminalize the phone, legalize hitting the idiot. very soon, there will be no idiots talking on the phones while jaywalking, because the really stupid ones will be dead, and the smart ones can dodge fast enough to stay out of my way.

credit: Darwin.

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It's good to walk

I actually quite like this idea.

Some pedestrians have no road sense what so ever.

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Mmmm... Hmmmm...

So talking to yourself with a piece of metal attached to your ear somehow raises the amount of walking accidents.

Don't drink and walk, and there's no such thing as safe speeding [when you're walking].

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Anonymous Coward

Whatever!

What do we care what they do over the pond?

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Paris Hilton

Darwin

If you use a mobile phone whilst driving and wreck the car, there is a good chance you may take some other poor sod with you.

If you're a ped on the phone. Well if you're that stupid to not see the big SUV...

Paris because she probably IS that dumb

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Joke

Think of the children...er drivers

Who is thinking of the poor drivers? Having to deal with the stress of getting their car fixed because of a mobe toting zombie is no fun. And if you are driving a Prius, the car is totalled and you have to deal with the shame of all that carbon footprint to get another one.

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A public safety Idea

US Politicians should be banned from talking, for the health and safety of all the worlds citizens.

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Anonymous Coward

Uh, no officer...

...actually I wasn't talking on my phone, I was:

1) taking a photo/video

2) listening to music

3) texting

4) browsing the web

5) reading my e-mail

Sheesh...

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Means Oil is still too cheap

Imagine trying to do this in 1770 Boston, all things kept the same (i.e. yes stupid, suppose they had li-ion batteries and mobile phones etc)

Oil will therefore exceed $200 a barrel by august 2008

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H
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Practicalities

So if you're in the middle of a conversation while you're walking down the street, what are you supposed to do? Say "hang on mate, I'm just crossing the road, I'll call you back"?

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Coat

Or

Or , how soon we forget what happened in another age not all that long ago to the digital age , to what happened to many users of the first truly mobile small compact cassette machine called the "walkman" as motorists splattered the mindless end users lost in the volume of the loud better class of music as they meandered across the road , giving rise to the shoulder mounted all purpose large "Boom Box" instead , to circumvent the headphone ban that swept the land !

I must be getting old in years to remember that bit of mindless trivia , or that history tends to repeat itself in the same endless circles at every change of technology !

But then again , it has been pointed out else where that wandering around answering your mobile communication device other then sitting at your desk with all it's delightful things like an off switch , message bank recording , SMS text message and all that other lovely digital recording features , is like being drunk as skunk at the wheel of the lethal weapon called a motor car !

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@John RE: You Have To Be Kidding

>WTF? Better ban reading a map while driving, talking to anybody while doing anything, and breathing too.

Err.. you mean to say that reading a map while driving is not already illegal over there???

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Yea Right...

As someone who lives in Chicago I vote the law should be changed to the family of the person that gets hit, while he is talking on a cell phone and jaywalking at the same time, should be responsible for damages for the car that hit him and the driver should not be held responsible.

That would so solve a lot of traffic jams from morons stopping in the middle of main streets looking at their cell phone's, and help Darwin out.

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Happy

@ Ian

Actually, the sure phrase that a Red neck is going to do something Darwinian is, "Here, hold my beer a second."

Every time I've heard it, cuts, bruises burns and/or emergency equipment for the speaker usually followed!

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Paris Hilton

Can't we...

make a law to send people to jail for being stupid? It would be so much easier. 'Course, we'd need a lot more prisons.

Paris – if you have to ask...

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Statistical justification?

"... the politician has noticed a pattern of pedestrians talking into mobile phones coming dangerously close to being hit by a car."

I don't know enough to have an opinion on this, and probably neither does any other commenter. I just hope this bill is being based on some sort of real evidence of a problem, not on anecdotes from some elected dude.

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Black Helicopters

What next?

Are they also going to stop your from crossing the street when drunk?

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I suggest....

I suggest that from now on, before a new stupid law is to be added to the books, several existing stupid laws must be repealed first. Over time this should solve the problem entirely.

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Coat

Shoot them

They're most irritating while texting and walking at a very slow pace on a narrow footpath, while you're in a hurry for an appointment/meeting and stuck behind them. And so focussed on the phone that your "Excuse me" falls on deaf ears. A gentle nudge with bag/umbrella usually works fine, but personally, I'd prefer a vapourising device.

Or at least a gun to blow the phone to bits.

Legislating against this is pointless. Hopefully, evolution will set this right. Am not sure though, because most governments seem to legislating towards a "survival of the stupidest" policy.

Mine's the astronaut suit - I need a different planet

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Linux

Re: Dafydd

Duh, the cars, objects and people will update as the triangle moves up the map. ;)

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Black Helicopters

So...

How long till Ken Livingstone tries this in London?

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Joke

Speed limits

Wouldn't it be better to just have a speed limit for pedestrians? If people are walking slowly enough, the cars will have enough time to swerve and miss them.. This would also solve the 'running out in front of a car' problem. Enforcement is easy - just use speed guns, same as for cars.

It would also make jogging less tiring :-)

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It makes sense..............

The average person who only ever takes a car driving license once in their life makes mistakes all the time, look at the pileups on the roads. Then they turn round and don't "see" how using a phone and crossing a road can be a problem? I find pedestrians falling into the road everywhere against self preservation, but there is a major problem appearing with mobile phone users who aren't looking around them, seem to find that one fixed head position to actually use their phone in.

Because mobile phone use when walking is so prominent in this day and age, a law has to be put into effect to specifically target them. All pedestrians already have the highway code to constrain them, but they don't follow that as it is. Policemen aren't on every street corner to sort them out. Pedestrians as a whole aren't being socially minded and need to be fined where they haven't got any sense.

I don't want the mental suffering of running down one of them. So we need laws to punish them, to prevent them harming others (and cyclists do get rather hurt when they hit these buggers!)

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I like this idea

Yes I know it may be difficult to inforce, but yeah, go flame me.

People here talk about Darwin and them getting run over but what about people like me who ride a motorbike and could get seriously hurt if i ran into them.

I get this problem a lot with people using phones and music players. I do the biker thing and give them a friendly toot of the horn to let them know im there, and for some idiots i get abuse back. Apparently its not their problem.

"You were probably speeding anyhow" they say, well if they suspect me of speeding then thats an even better reason for them looking!

"Theres a stop sign over there" they say, but you arnt crossing on the stop sign.

"its not my problem, you are supposed to slow down for me, its illegal to hit a pedestrian" they say. No *hit, well then you show some courtesy and look before you walk out and im forced to do an emergency stop.

Yes, im quoting what people have said to me.

Personal responsibility for your own safety, that is the phrase im thinking of, you idiot.

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@ Ian

Wasn't that line from Niven's "Oath of Fealty"?

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Catching the Jaytalkers

It would have to be handled by the meter maids, an army of whom ride around in blue golf carts.

In Chicago, the police don't walk - most weigh at least 16 stone (roughly 425 dozen donuts). And that is a good thing, because ticketing an off-duty cop in Chicago can get you handcuffed, arrested and thrown in jail.

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Coat

@Vijay

"Hopefully, evolution will set this right. Am not sure though, because most governments seem to legislating towards a "survival of the stupidest" policy."

I fear we *are* seeing evolution in action here. The development of civil society has allowed the stupid to sidestep natural selection and impose 'legislative selection' in an apparently successful move to multiply their own kind.

I'll get my coat - though there no longer seems to be anywhere to go to get away from these people.

Hmm... awfully cynical for a Saturday morning. My caffeine kickstart hasn't kicked in yet, I guess.

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Gates Horns

Eh?

Does this mean American's actually walk places? Wow - I thought if they wanted to cross the street they'd get in their car, drive 2 miles and end up back where they started, on the other side of the road...

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Coat

Ban mobile phone use on the move generally

Mobile phones would be far safer if you could only use them at a single designated address...

By the way, why can't I use Joke Alert and I'll Get My Coat simultaneously?

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JC

It's a GREAT idea.

I wouldn't mind so much if someone who perpetually ignores oncoming cars was struck, but there is another benefit to such a law, to train phone users to occasionally hang the damn thing up.

Get them used to making quicker calls where they just say what they had to say because they may need to hang up soon. Having a phone is a great convenience but should be used in moderation when it's effecting others around the user. It's a shame we seem to need legislation to cause a basic level of courtesy but when all else fails that's what you're left with.

To the prior poster who asked if reading maps while driving should be illegal, yes are you kidding? What an irresponsible person to feel they have a right to endanger other people for their convenience. If it's not safe to pull off the road to read a map then it's not safe to do it on the road either.

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Coat

How to Save time and money

JUST BAN ALL MOBILE PHONES!!!

simple really. :)

just one simple law and it sorts out all the problems in one strike.

No more health risks to pedestrians, drivers or inocent bystanders being irradiated.

It really Saves BILLIONS!!! - look:

# Money wasted by police and courts in enforcement,

# Eliminates the cause of ADHD and other anti-social activities of criminals and bored youth,

# Reduces the cost to the nation on funding the NHS with all those cancer patients caused by effects of mobile phone radiation,

# Makes a real effect to reduce the nation's Carbon footprint as well.

# Saves a fortune to married men on the huge phone bills thier wife's and kids run up talking rubbish to in-laws and friends for hours a day.

It really is a win-win-win-win situation :)

mines the camoflaged crinkly kevlar hoody...

illuminatus ;p

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More points

Double points for taking out a cell-talking pedestrian if you're driving whilst talking to that pedestrian on your cellphone?

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Go

Wrong direction

I can see where this guy is coming from - I normally walk out of my house and straight across the road to get to town. Once or twice I've been on the phone and just caught myself stepping of the curb without looking. Its really easy to do.

But of course, banning doing it won't change anything. What would help is a simple phone feature that delivers a pre-recorded message like "beep very sorry, - back with you in a moment" while you attend to a small matter of personal survival. Its just a politeness thing - the person you're talking to doesn't know you're crossing a road. If they did, they'd almost certainly want you to stop talking and look out for cars (just as if they were standing beside you, which is why that comparison is useless), so all you need is some accepted convention for a way to let them know.

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What?!

There are a million things more dangerous than talking on a phone while crossing the road, and to be honest, it's an individual's responsibility to consider their safety.

And also, how on earth would it be enforced? You can 'ban' stuff all you want, but people will still do it. The world is not a particularly safe place, just live with it and stop pushing these stupid rules.

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Re: Eh?

No one drives in America, particularly New York. There's too much traffic.

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Flame

In the UK anyway

Just about the first thing the highway code says is give way to pedestrians.

That said any pedestrian should look where they're going.

I've been speaking on a mobile whilst walking before and wondered how I got where I was after the conversation (about fifteen minutes) finished.

When you're speaking on the phone, you're not in the same place that your body is; you're conscious mind is somewhere else. Having said that your unconscious mind is taking care of the stuff you do all the time - like when you manage to get home when you're so pissed you can barely get undressed when you actually get home (never done it? try drinking more).

The driver should be aware of what's going on around them. The pedestrian should too. But when it comes to it, it's the driver that's propelling a ton of metal at thirty miles per hour (because anywhere you're really like to come across a pedestrian crossing the road, the speed limit is thirty).

So whether the pedestrian is paying attention or not (and they should be) the ultimate responsibility lies with the driver as they're the ones that are acting outside of nature's limits (see how long you can travel at thirty miles per hour on foot).

On a slightly unrelated note, I think a better law to pass would be to make everyone re-take their driving test every ten years.

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