Gridlock is happening on our sidewalks, and in Toronto, Bay and Yonge Streets are full of offenders.
We’re talking about text-walkers – people who insist on keeping their eyes glued to their phones as they blindly navigate through busy city sidewalks.
One U.S. stateswoman is so sick of these smartphone users that she’s proposing an all-out ban on walking while texting.
New Jersey assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt wants distracted pedestrians using their phones on public sidewalks to face the same penalties as jaywalkers, which are fines up to US$50, 15 days in jail, or both.
“Distracted pedestrians, like distracted drivers, present a potential danger to themselves and drivers on the road,” she told The Associated Press.
Lampitt, who is a Democrat, said half of the fine revenues should be allocated to funding safety education about the dangers of distracted walking.
How much of a problem do text-walkers pose in Canada?
Besides being a nuisance, distracted walkers, among children and school crossing guards, are regarded as some of the most vulnerable pedestrians on our roads.
Transport Canada reports an average of 33 per cent of pedestrians killed on roadways are deemed at-fault for crashes, for reasons like failing to make eye contact with others or assuming motorists will stop for them.
Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation reported 4,602 pedestrian injuries in 2012. At least 670 were classified as being inattentive at the time of the accident.
Last year, there were 38 pedestrian fatalities in Toronto. It was also the worst year for traffic deaths in Toronto in over a decade.
So far, 2016 has racked up 11 pedestrian deaths in Toronto.