Distracted driving addressed, now distracted pedestrians

Repeatedly we have spoken about the dangers of distracted driving in our various blog posts, now it seems that a new user of the road presents a danger when distracted, pedestrians. Lawmakers in two states have proposed distracted pedestrian laws that would limit the ability of people on the street to use cell phones, music players and other electronic gadgets. The lawmakers believe that pedestrians need to share some of the responsibility of car accidents and pedestrian accidents.

A distracted pedestrian proposal in Arkansas would limit the ability of pedestrians to use headphones on both ears. The ban applies to pedestrians, runners and bicyclists who are in proximity to any road. The ban does not completely ban the listening of music; it allows pedestrians and cyclists to use headphones in one ear. The point of the proposal is to ensure that pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists are aware of their surroundings.

Lawmakers in New York have been trying to pass a distracted pedestrian ban since 2007. The proposed ban in New York would eliminate the use of cell phones, music players and other electronics by pedestrians who are crossing a street in a major city. Specifically, the ban eliminates the use of electronics when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk in a city with a population of one million or more. Under the proposed law, pedestrians face a fine of $100 for being distracted in a crosswalk.

One of the state lawmakers who supports the New York distracted pedestrian law says the law is not much different than a law against distracted driving. The lawmaker said he saw too many pedestrian accidents occur in his own district because pedestrians were “wired up” in their own world. According to an auto accident attorney Cleveland Ohio, pedestrian accidents account for 12 percent of all fatal traffic fatalities.