Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Nanny State Takes on iPod and Cellphone Walkers

A state senator from Brooklyn said on Tuesday he plans to introduce legislation that would ban people from using an MP3 player, cell phone, Blackberry or any other electronic device while crossing the street in either New York City or Buffalo.

NewsChannel 4 reported that Sen. Carl Kruger is proposing the ban in response to two recent pedestrian deaths in his district, including a 23-year-old man who was struck and killed last month while listening to his iPod on Avenue T and East 71st Street In Bergen Beach.

"While people are tuning into their iPods and cell phones, they're tuning out the world around them," Kruger said. The proposed law would make talking on cell phones while crossing the street a comparable offense to jaywalking.
Considering that jaywalking is a way of life in New York City, I doubt that this will gain any traction. It's not as though there aren't enough other distractions unrelated to iPods or cellphones that distract people while they're walking.

Chewing gum for example.
Talking with other people while crossing the street.

Please see the comments for more on this subject - Legalbgl pointed out that both of us knew one of the victims that supposedly stirred Kreuger to act. Speeding played a role in Sean's death as may have Sean's iPod usage, but it also important to note that drivers frequently speed on the street where Sean was killed.

As for enforcing this kind of law, good luck with that. Jaywalking is on the books but hardly enforced. Imagine trying to enforce this law. Not.Gonna.Happen. It's a feel good legislation designed to make Kruger look good - not actually improve safety.

Others commenting: Ann Althouse, Sister Toldjah, Scared Monkeys, and Blogs of War.

Still others weighing in on the story: Peter Suderman, Pure Pedantry, and Second Hand Conjecture.

This is going to be my trackback post for the day. Leave your interesting and noteworthy links in the trackbacks. Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

Fixed typo above.

I was just thinking. If this was such an important issue to Kruger, why not make it applicable to the entire state and not simply New York City and Buffalo. You mean to tell me that there are people walking in the street elsewhere in the state that are not likely to be hit by a car?

Still more reaction coming in, and it invariably lambastes Kruger for proposing this legislative solution: The Reaction, Right Thoughts, Suitably Flip, A Welsh View, rftr, Polipundit, VoIP and Gadgets Blog, eCanadaNow, GOP Bloggers, The Listening Post, Rob Port at Say Anything, Ankle Biting Pundits, Streetsblog, Daily Pundit,, and The Art of the Blog.

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