What If the Distracted Walking Law Came to North Dakota?
One law that recently took effect in North Dakota was stiffer penalties for distracted driving. What if there was a law for distracted walking? There actually is such a thing.
The city of Honolulu, HI recently passed a 'distracted walking' law. Pedestrians will now be fined for use of their smartphone, tablet, handheld video game, digital camera, pager and Amazon Echo personal assistant while crossing the street. Anyone caught doing so is subject to a $35 fine for a first offense, $75 for a second, and $99 for a third.
While this may seem like an absurdity, what if the law came to North Dakota. Plenty of citizens pass each other walking down the street on any given day while a decent percentage of them are looking down at their phone instead of paying attention to where they're going. Whether or not we want to admit that, it's unfortunately true.
There has been a nationwide growing number of pedestrians killed in traffic over the years, including an 11 percent spike in 2016. More states have considered fines and even jail time for 'distracted walking' recently, such as Arkansas, New York, Nevada, and New Jersey. New York City and Los Angeles are both cracking down on jaywalking.
Before we grab our torches and pitchforks and head to a "Don't Text and Walk" rally, it's important to remember that pedestrians being killed in traffic are being killed, not by their phone, but by drivers. In the past two years, the number of total roadway deaths has increased dramatically, but just 15 percent of those fatalities were pedestrians, with an overwhelming majority of those caused by drunk driving.
While distracted driving remains a problem everywhere, distracted walking may just be something to be aware of, especially if you have a tendency to walk into others on foot while you're busy liking your recent crush's Instagram post. Just remember to look both ways before crossing the street...and probably one more time before you start swiping away on Tinder.