For the launch of Windows Phone last year, a Microsoft commercial poked fun at people walking around with their heads buried in their devices. But should the practice be outlawed entirely?
That’s the question making the rounds after reports that police in Fort Lee, N.J., have started cracking down on the practice of texting while walking, following a spate of pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents.
To be clear, the story seems to have been distorted in translation by the national media. Contrary to reports by ABC, Gizmodo and others, simply texting while walking down the sidewalk or through an intersection in Fort Lee won’t result in a ticket.
As reported by the Huffington Post and FOX News Radio, pedestrians will need to be disobeying other traffic rules at the same time to be written up. In other words, the real crackdown is on jaywalking.
Still, the reports have stirred a debate over the proper way for society to deal with this issue. We saw first-hand the dangers of texting while driving when we visited an AT&T simulator at Garfield High School in Seattle last week. Researchers have found that texting while walking changes our gait and makes us more distracted than talking on a cell phone does.
Whether the practice should be made illegal is open to debate, but this seems to be an issue of natural selection. Time to take our heads our phones and pay attention to the world around us.