ICYMI: New York Moves to Criminalize Texting While Walking

The New York State Senate is moving to make texting while walking a crime. It could produce a rather ironic result in New York City which just moved to reduce criminal penalties for public urination and turnstile jumping. Thus, you could soon be in a better legal position in New York City urinating on your cellphone in public than texting on it.

Under the law, messaging or playing games just on the streets could result in fines ranging from $50 to $150 depending on the number of offenses. 

Hawaii and California already has such laws. This should be interesting in New York City where lawyers and professionals constantly text on the move. Nevertheless, Queens Senator John Liu says that they are narrowing the coverage to crossing streets so “this is a bill that says don’t text while crossing the street, wait the 10 seconds, to get to the other side.”

The question however is the criminalization of a wider and wider array of conduct. Legislators now tend to use the criminal code as an exclamation point on their pet peeves of social ills. There is a view that, if you do not make it a crime, it is not being taken seriously. The result is that millions of Americans are finding themselves subject to an ever-expanding array of criminal sanctions.

What do you think?

36 thoughts on “ICYMI: New York Moves to Criminalize Texting While Walking”

  1. How about legislating an affirmative defense against criminal or civil complaints alleging negligence if the pedestrian is texting?

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