NJ legislators are considering a new law that would impose stiff monetary fines on pedestrians who “walk and text.” If some state lawmakers in Trenton NJ have their way, the bill will soon arrive on the desk of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who will be faced with controversial legislation that he will have to sign off on, veto or disregard. That’s because Pamela R. Lampitt, a State Assemblywoman from Camden, New Jersey, recently introduced a bill that would make it illegal for pedestrians to use cell phones while walking along public sidewalks or on roadways.
The bill specifies that anyone caught using a cell phone that is not a hands-free device can be cited for a violation of the ordinance and fined as much as $50. Moreover, violators could potentially be sentenced to up to 15 days in the local county jail, although a jail sentence is highly unlikely for a first-time offender. The penalties for a violation of the proposed statute would fall in line with the penalties that are already imposed against jaywalkers in New Jersey.
Lampitt proposed the new law as a way to cut down on pedestrian accidents and fatalities, which are occurring at alarming rates in New Jersey and elsewhere in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 70,000 pedestrians sustained injuries in traffic accidents in 2013. Beyond that, NHTSA data shows that nearly 4,800 pedestrians are killed in the U.S. every year. Many of these tragic accidents could have been avoided if the pedestrians were more aware of the dangers of being distracted while walking on sidewalks and across streets.
The hope of state lawmakers like Lampitt is that pedestrians will exercise greater caution if “distracted walking” is treated like a traffic violation that can result in fines and other penalties.
For more information on the proposed law, view the NJ.com article, “Walk and Chew Gum? No Problem. Walk and Text? Freeze!”
If you have been cited for speeding, reckless driving or any other moving violation in New Jersey, the experienced criminal defense and traffic defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can help you. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation.