New York bill would outlaw texting while crossing the street

New York bill would outlaw texting while crossing the street
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A recently introduced bill in the New York state legislature would make it illegal to text and cross the street at the same time.

A measure offered last week in the state Senate would prohibit pedestrians from using any portable electronic device while crossing the street, with exceptions for emergency situations. Under the bill, portable electronic devices include cellphones, tablets, laptops, pagers and handheld gaming consoles.

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Actions such as texting, checking email, taking photos, playing games and searching the internet would be part of the ban if the proposal passes.

First-time violators would be fined between $25 and $50, but if someone gets caught three or more times within an 18-month period, they could be fined up to $250, the bill states.

The measure has been referred to the state Senate Transportation Committee.

"It's hard not to notice the number of people texting while walking, and downright alarming to see people continuing their texting while crossing the street," state Sen. John Liu (D) told CNN. "We want New Yorkers to know it's OK to wait the 5 seconds."

Honolulu enacted a law in 2017 that makes it illegal for pedestrians to cross a street or highway while looking at a phone or other mobile electronic device.

The city of Montclair in Southern California passed a similar law in 2018.