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New Philadelphia Law Says Texting While Walking Illegal $120 Tickets is Hoax

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by editor

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In The News

Texting and walking are dangerous--or at least that's the hoax. The rumor is Philadelphia thinks the two activities don't mix, and the Pennsylvania city's made it illegal to text while walking on the street--handing out $120 tickets to pedestrians. If it sounds ridiculous, it is. But, ironically, a senator's trying to ban walkers and runners in New York City from using iPods or cell phones on the street. And that is true.
Someone's apparently been falling down the job when checking facts. CBS seems to be the outlet responsible for breaking the "news" first, even on its television news casts: The rumor has continued to circulate through news outlets that Philadelphia was instituting a new law banning pedestrians from texting. The only issue seemed to be a lack of date as to when that law would go into effect or an accompany code for the supposed violation. The PPD is recommending pedestrians be more aware of their surroundings -- but confirms that its residents will not be ticketed for texting while on the street.
The 'texting while walking' hoax fell under the idea that Philadelphia's decision to fine pedestrians who text is part of the city's "Give Respect, Get Respect" program that targets Pennsylvania bicyclists in the city who are being disrespectful by riding on sidewalks, running red lights and riding on the wrong side of the street. On July 19, a hoax claimed pedestrians aren't giving enough respect in Philly -- and, in that hoax, the rumor -- broadcast as actual news -- was that Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) had been handing out mainly warnings since the "Give Respect, Get Respect" program started two months ago in May, but that cops would now be cracking down with fines of $120 bucks per pedestrian ticket.
The 'texting while walking' hoax even went so far as to claim that the deputy mayor, Rita Cutler, had stated citations would "definitely" be handed out to pedestrians.
Perhaps NBC wanted to razz CBS a bit over the error. It certainly didn't give rival CBS a break anyway: While NBC posted the hoax and correction near 1 p.m., July 19, no one bothered to give CBS a heads-up about the hoax and error. The CBS news outlet continued to broadcast the incorrect news about the new pedestrian 'walking while texting' law most of the day.
If it all sounds too crazy to be real, think again. One person -- in one of the nation's largest cities -- believes a similar texting law should apply to pedestrians, along with a hefty $100 fine. Look out New Yorkers: One politician in New York has been trying to block pedestrians, and those on foot at all -- including runners -- from using the written word on cell phones. That man has created legislation that the lawmaker's been pushing and trying to get passed since 2007. But right now, no one's buying.
The law intended for New York City, Buffalo and Erie County in New York state has never passed -- probably something about civil rights and all.
Brooklyn State Senator Carl Kruger is responsible for the little gem that would alter the average New Yorker's rights drastically: Kruger wants to make it illegal In New York City and Buffalo to do the normal stuff while on the street -- like talking on a cell phone, texting or listening to to an MP3 or music device, including Apple iPods. He says the 'no texting' law should apply not just to runners by the roadside, but to those walking as well.
According to Senator Kruger, the politician claims there are simply too many accidents caused by distracted walkers and runners on the NY streets. Of course he doesn't cite any of those drastic, on-street walking accidents in his claim. But in a statement to the media and AP earlier this year, Kruger claims: "They [get] wired up, and their head [is] just in a different place. I don't think it's that much different than a ban on cell phones while driving or another other distraction."
While Senator Kruger may personally not think "it's that much different" than making cell phone use for drivers illegal, pedestrians on Rochester streets feel drastically different about his proposal for any 'texting while walking or running' law and related ban on devices.
There's been one other lawmaker, in Arkansas, gunning for a similar law to Kruger's -- but he's since dropped out of that race. Maybe he's afraid of looking the fool, a fear which apparently doesn't affect someone else.
There could be one reason alone that Senator Kruger's texting law hasn't got a chance and it doesn't have to do with political clout -- it's got simply to do with money. Try Apple + Lawyers.
If you're dumb enough to walk into a fountain while on your phone or texting, that would make you the ass. The embarrassment factor is enough -- no financial fine needed.
Senator Kruger should consider a new law, in an area that seems right up his alley: New York City and Buffalo can have cops patrol bars with breathalyzers -- to ticket those caught texting while under the influence. That ticket will be around $200 bucks, and it's necessary. It will save lives. Or, at least, embarrassment.


Philadelphia , PA
United States
39° 57' 8.406" N, 75° 9' 49.6404" W
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Average: 5 (2 votes)


Even Leno falls to the hoax.

July 19, 2011 by hearit, 12 years 47 weeks ago

hearit's picture

Even Leno falls to the hoax. Jokes about the Philadelphia texting and walking tickets has spread to late night TV. Even incorrect news spreads like wildfire. Fact-checking is a helpful thing, especially for the media who distributes those supposed facts

What???? a hoax?

December 18, 2012 by kristen_03, 11 years 26 weeks ago

kristen_03's picture

What???? a hoax?