New York bill would fine people who text while walking

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A bill making its way through the New York legislature would make it illegal for people to text and email on their phones while crossing the street, WABC reported. 

The legislation, filed by  Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Bronx) and Sen. John Liu (D-Queens), would impose fines ranging from $50 to $150, depending on the number of offenses. Repeat offenders could pay up to $250. 

“I have been receiving so many complaints from people saying, ‘Please ban text messaging when people are crossing,’” Ortiz said.

“This is a bill that says don’t text while crossing the street, wait the 10 seconds, to get to the other side,” Liu said. 

The law applies to any kind of “portable electronic device,” including laptops and electronic gaming devices, but exempts texting during an emergency.

“I have been receiving so many complaints from people saying, ‘Please ban text messaging when people are crossing,’ ” Ortiz said.

“I’m driving down the street, and someone is not paying attention and they get hit by a car, who is going to get sued?” driver Wanda Richmond said. 

But critics of the bill say it won’t be effective. 

“People should, if they are going to get killed crossing the street not paying attention, that’s their fault, I don’t see why you need to legislate common sense,” Lyles Press told the news station.

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