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. I suppose it bears repeating: The issue in statutes of this type is not whether the cops ever enforce them, rather in “negligence per se” states, like NY, such statutes give tort victims an advantage if they are injured by anyone violating the statute. In that sense, I’m not against them, nor am I even inclined to call them silly. I’m sure the lawmakers have no illusions about cops handing out tickets for texting while walking. It’s just not going to happen; and it really isn’t the point.

  2. Criminalise smoking while walking– it is assault with intent to charm. These dumb schmucks think they are cute when they smoke their cigarettes. They think of movies with Marilyn Monroe. The guys and gals think she was sexy while smoking. Same with guys smoking in the movies and on TV. Yet when they share their poison they are assaulting those around them.
    Shoot em on sight.

  3. I can cross the street swallowing a hoagie and sucking down a coffee, minding my own business, but texting? Nada. What about talking on the phone, searching streetview, or staring at a fine lady’s derriere as she walks by?

  4. “The question however is the criminalization of a wider and wider array of conduct.”

    A pedestrian that crosses the street into traffic places drivers and other pedestrians in danger. Therefore it’s not unreasonable to ban this behavior.

    1. Eating a sandwich dose not require a person to think about what to say next also your head is down so the possibility of running into a person is greater . Now maybe they should stop talking to another person is a bad idea,but when your not acting like a fish or a bird in a crowded environment. There is a lot to say about behavior in crowds . We have to know when to change our directions subtly that would be lost if one was texting or so one would think . Now maybe if everyone was texting crossing the street suddenly it would be okay. They need to test the waters of the last texting for everyone
      They could give those people their own lane and see what happens.

  5. If John Liu is right, and the New York State Senate narrows the application of that law to those who cross streets while texting, fine. It would make the roads safer for everyone.

    If, however, this becomes a blanket prohibition on texting while you walk, no. The “crime” just isn’t worth the penalty, and the monetary reward to local municipalities for citing citizens for it invites abusive enforcement.

  6. Let free Americans suffer the consequences of their actions. A child touches the stove and learns that it is hot.

    Most laws must be rescinded and abrogated. Individuals have the right to text as they have every conceivable natural and God-given right and freedom provided by the Constitution and Bill of Rights, with emphasis on the 9th Amendment.

    The Constitution provides maximal freedom to individuals while it severely restricts and limits government which exists merely to facilitate the freedom of individuals.

    The communists believe they have the right to nullify fundamental law in America at their pleasure.

    What the heck are those traitors at the Supreme Court doing? Oh yeah, they’re in league with the communists.

    The communists in America (i.e. democrats, progressives, liberals, socialist) may write all the dictatorial laws they like but those laws shall not deny individuals their rights under the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    The American thesis is Freedom and Self-Reliance not Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

    Holy —-!!!! Are there any Americans left in America?

  7. About the only thing I’ll give Europe and the UK credit for getting right is ceding automobiles the right of way over the roadway (in practice if not in law),even at the zebras. If an idiot (been there/done that) is stupid enough to step off the pavement/sidewalk onto the roadway, without ensuring the safety of that choice or a signal designed to confer the right and the motorists’ observed obedience, he deserves what he gets.

  8. The New York State Senate is moving to make texting while walking a crime.

    What do you think?

    As one of the most corrupt state houses in the nation mayhap NYS senate/assembly can get themselves in order before criminalizing every aspect of every New Yorkers life.

    Italicized/bold text was excerpted from a report found at the website http://www.democratandchronicle.com titled Is this the year NY government rids itself of corruption and scandals?:

    Some of the state’s most powerful political figures were caught in the torrent, including Sheldon Silver, the former Assembly speaker, and Dean Skelos, whose five-year tenure as Senate majority leader ended when he was convicted of using his influence to secure work for his son.

    Seven trials took place last year, and a bevy of lawmakers — 47 in all —have faced accusations of wrongdoing since 2000, with charges ranging from DWI to bid-rigging.


    Or, mayhap, our fearful leaders at NYS assembly/senate could concentrate their not-so great powers of observation upon the states $2.3 billion dollar budget short fall in 2019.

    Italicized/bold text was excerpted from a report found at the website http://www.timesunion.com titled Cuomo: State facing $2.3 billion shortfall:

    “This is the most serious revenue shock New York has faced in many years,” DiNapoli said. “And that $2.3 billion figure will frankly get worse before it gets better.”


    Apparently NYS knows best so the worthless tax-feeding nincompoop popularity contest winners will simply disregard the budget shortfall and endemic corruption to concentrate their superior intellects on criminalizing every aspect of every New Yorkers life.

  9. Are these “negligent or reckless walking” laws?

    Phone apps are designed to be addicting. It feeds a pleasure loop that makes it difficult to put them down. Best not to get hooked on any substance or device. If you can’t put your phone down while walking, you may have a problem.

    People need to be responsible, and the addictive nature of phone apps needs to become more widely known. How can we ease criminality of drug use while tighten criminality of other addictive behaviors?

  10. amidst the phony allegations of “sex trafficking” and the witch hunt against Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft for allegedly getting a humble inguinal massage down in Florida, let the foreign born New York city massage workers speak for themselves


    instead of criminalizing spitting on the sidewalk, the NYC law enforcement establishment should consider ending entrapment of massage parlor workers in bogus anti-prostitution raids

    1. I think the Kraft case is near over. The video evidence which wasn’t evidence for what they were looking for has been thrown out.

      In NYC the massage parlors are closed and reopened under another name. When a bunch are closed a NYC official or politician can pat himself on the back for a job well done even though nothing happened. If they wanted to solve the problems those massage parlors might create they should legalize, license and zone them.

      1. i think they are generally licensed, in nearly every state, and in most major metros and counties

        that doesn’t mean that some don’t operate without a license. i have no problem with them getting ticketed for that. licensing is appropriate for public health and safety concerns

        paying cops to sneak in and get their crankshafts greased and turned on the taxpayer’s dime is what i object to, and then the persecutors coming out and defaming everyone as well



        In February, law enforcement agencies publicly revealed they hid recording devices during investigations of 10 spas from Jupiter to Orlando.

        They said massage parlors were shut down and several women were charged with pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from running prostitution houses. Nearly 300 men were charged overall across Florida.

        Officials said their efforts were aimed in part at targeting suspected human trafficking at the massage parlors. They pointed to state health department inspections suggesting that sex workers from Asia were living at the businesses.

        “Obviously our concern in this investigation centers around … the possibility of victims of human trafficking, the appearance of that,” Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr said in February, adding that customers enable such illicit businesses to “flourish.”

        State Attorney Dave Aronberg called human trafficking “evil in our midst,” adding that there is “the cold reality that many prostitutes in cases like this are themselves victims, often lured into this country with promises of a better life.”

        But Aronberg’s office walked back the claims, telling Kraft’s judge that there was no evidence of human trafficking. It was just misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution charges for the men, and felony charges of making money from prostitution for the women.

        Officials have said they hoped the sex workers would cooperate with investigators so they could bring more serious charges. That didn’t happen.

        Kraft’s lawyers ripped the authorities for misleading a judge into approving the sneak-and-peek warrant by providing a “false narrative of human trafficking.” They also accused officials of attempting “to deceive the public and justify law enforcement’s overreach” with the “clandestine video surveillance.”


        After judges approved the sneak-and-peek warrants, police used “tactical ruses” to clear out the businesses so they could install the cameras in the massage rooms and the lobby. The cops said they needed to investigate a suspicious package, creating a bomb scare.”


        1. “i think they are generally licensed, in nearly every state, and in most major metros and counties”

          Kurtz, I am talking about licensing them as sex workers.

  11. Honolulu, Hawaii ( in a cross walk ) Montclair, California, ( crossing a street ) and Stamford, Connecticut ( crossing a street ) are “cities” which have “criminalized” texting while in a cross walk or otherwise crossing a street.

    I know of no “State” which criminalized texting while walking and no “City” which has criminalized texting while walking other than the aforementioned designated, limited places.

    Accurate, if not precise, language creates knowledge.

    Inaccurate, if not false, language creates ignorance, if not stupidly, in the writer and reader.

    dennis hanna

  12. This ever-expanding array of “criminal” conduct will only result in widespread contempt for the law. Moreover, it’s completely unnecessary as Darwinian genetics will soon weed out those who text while crossing the streets in Manhattan.

  13. Well intentioned as the NY Senate is, this is the wrong approach. I suggest that the NY Senate should make “he/she was ‘texting while crossing'” as a legal defense/excuse for hitting a pedestrian in/around a crosswalk. Let the citizenry police the citizens.

  14. Prosecutors already have the ability to charge people with multiple crimes, ensuring that an accused will plead guilty to something.

    NY politicians are continuing this trend.

    Just another tool for cops who already have a large toolbox.

  15. It does appear that for the progressives who place such faith in the perfectibility of man, criminalizing an action is preferable to instilling common sense and a moral code.

    1. criminalizing an action is preferable to instilling common sense and a moral code.


      Earl Warren SCOTUS threw God out the window and the godless have made Government our Saviour. Additionally we have turned to our most inner appetites to dictate how we can live. “Free speech” means anything goes. Women’s “its my body” means kill the developing baby. Surgeries and medications that mimic the opposite gender means “she” is now “he, it, they” or all of the above depending our fancies. As if!

      We are a collective mess and neither “conservatives” nor “libertarians” fight against the slippery slope they have created. At least the liberals are honest: they hate God and life, thus effectively killing both while Americans rush to their constitutional “freedoms”

      just stunning

    2. free will is about power. Thus we are bludgeoning each other and ourselves drunk with power….free will. Swine in slop by no other name.

      St Thomas Aquinas:
      Summa Theologiae > First Part > Question 83

      Although free-will [Liberum arbitrium—i.e. free judgment] in its strict sense denotes an act, in the common manner of speaking we call free-will, that which is the principle of the act by which man judges freely. Now in us the principle of an act is both power and habit; for we say that we know something both by knowledge and by the intellectual power. Therefore free-will must be either a power or a habit, or a power with a habit. That it is neither a habit nor a power together with a habit, can be clearly proved in two ways.

      First of all, because, if it is a habit, it must be a natural habit; for it is natural to man to have a free-will. But there is not natural habit in us with respect to those things which come under free-will: for we are naturally inclined to those things of which we have natural habits—for instance, to assent to first principles: while those things which we are naturally inclined are not subject to free-will, as we have said of the desire of happiness (I:82:2). Wherefore it is against the very notion of free-will that it should be a natural habit. And that it should be a non-natural habit is against its nature. Therefore in no sense is it a habit.

      Secondly, this is clear because habits are defined as that “by reason of which we are well or ill disposed with regard to actions and passions” (Ethic. ii, 5); for by temperance we are well-disposed as regards concupiscences, and by intemperance ill-disposed: and by knowledge we are well-disposed to the act of the intellect when we know the truth, and by the contrary ill-disposed. But the free-will is indifferent to good and evil choice: wherefore it is impossible for free-will to be a habit. Therefore it is a power.


      1. “for we say that we know something both by knowledge and by the intellectual power.”

        Sounds Randian.

  16. I have a strange diet and I can fart on command. When someone is walking right at me and is about to run into me while they are looking down at their dumb phone I will fart loudly. “Don’t text while walking on the sidewalk or in the store”. New York needs a law to deal with people who speak with NY accents. Like Bernie. 33rd Street and 3rd Avenue is pronounced: Turdy turd and a turd. We need to get turds like Bernie off the political screen. The good thing about Trump is that he does not yak like a New Yorkie.

  17. I hate it when people stop in the middle of a step to finish a text right in the middle of the road. It really is frustrating but I don’t want them arrested or jailed. NYC should focus on bigger things. Like keeping the streets clean, the storm drains working and controlling development. These peeve crimes are ridiculous. But if you want to not lay to raise of the subway, go right a head.nuts, really nuts.

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