What's next? A ban on texting while walking in the mall?
With the hard work of persistent lawmakers, texting and using cell phones without the use of hands free headsets have become illegal while driving. The obvious reasoning behind the legislation was due to safety concerns and an increased number of accidents from distracted drivers. According to the New York Times, a bill is now in circulation that calls for a ban on cell phones, ipods and just about any handheld device while crossing the street.
Considering the millions of people around the country that like to listen to their mp3 players while jogging and exercising, this bill may be going a bit overboard. In a world that is becoming increasingly dependent on smartphones and new technology, many advocates of this bill would argue people are becoming more detached from the real world around them. Although this may be partially true, we don't think it has gotten to the point where joggers are throwing themselves at moving vehicles because they are too busy rocking out to The Grateful Dead.
Legislation regarding texting and distractions while driving are much more understandable due to the fact that drivers are operating a very heavy vehicle that could cause some serious damage. It is completely the government's business to prevent a texting driver from plowing into a crowded group of people, but when we are in control of our own bodies, the only person we are putting directly at risk is ourselves. Banning the use of cell phones and ipods while crossing the street is no different than banning a dangerous sport such as racing and boxing.
State Senator Carl Kruger, the bill's main proponent states:
We’re taught from knee-high to look in both directions, wait, listen and then cross. You can perform none of those functions if you are engaged in some kind of wired activity.
Although the senator may not be able to look in both directions while focused on trying to figure out the complicated device that is an ipod in his hands, we're full confident that our readers and a majority of the population have no problems with this. We've personally yet to see somebody mindlessly cross the street into a horde of oncoming cars. In addition to the impracticality of this law, it is not likely to be easily enforced and would probably cause more trouble than it solves.
With the number of accidents that occur due to texting or distractions while driving, it is recognizable that technology can play its part, but what's more important is to focus on a balance between connectivity with personal tech devices and keeping ourselves and those around us safe. These types of decisions and responsibilities should be taken on by the individual and not the government.