A newly-proposed law in New York details fining people who use their cellphones at crosswalks.
If put into place, pedestrians looking at their phones while crossing the street could face fines from US$25 all the way to US$250, according to New York senator John Liu.
Senator Liu has clarified that the bill allows for talking on the phone, but could fine people if they are looking at handheld devices as they cross the road. The suggestion was also purportedly influenced by New York state reports showing an estimated 300 pedestrian fatalities per year.
The radical proposal has understandably received its share of criticism. For instance, Marco Conner of Transportation Alternatives is concerned that police officers might abuse their power to target certain demographics more than others, and that the bill contributes to “victim blaming” in the event that accidents happen, according to Fast Company.
It is also uncertain if the fine would increase for those who are jaywalking while looking at their devices. Either way, as cellphone addicts are too common, implementing such a law can easily overwhelm the police involved and end up over-punishing a habitual behavior.