After more than 20 pedestrians have been hit by cars so far this year in Bergen County — the city of Fort Lee, New Jersey has begun cracking down on texting while walking by issuing $85 tickets to offenders they're calling “dangerous walkers”. A moniker that sounds like it came straight out of a zombie movie.
Fort Lee police say they've issued nearly 120 tickets in just six weeks - slapping an $85 jaywalking ticket on any pedestrian who is caught texting while walking.
“It’s a big distraction. Pedestrians aren’t watching where they are going and they are not aware,” said Thomas Ripoli, chief of the Fort Lee Police Department.
A study conducted by two professors at New York's Stony Brook University found that texters are 60 percent more likely to veer off line than non-texters. The hefty $85 fine is designed to send a strong message to “dangerous walkers” while ultimately protecting a mindless glut of texting zombies who are just too dumb to protect themselves.
While the crackdown is another way for Big Brother to strip citizens of their civil liberties in the land of the free — the N.J. ban, that could be adopted by more U.S. cities is ushering in a brand new meaning to “pay-as-you-go” mobile plans.
In my opinion, this ridiculous ban is just a stealth tax aimed at deficit reduction while masquerading as a fine to protect citizens during a year that showed almost “half (49.7%) of U.S. mobile subscribers now own smartphones, as of February 2012.”
According to a Nielsen report, that growth marks an increase of 38 percent over last year. Which makes issuing fines on “dangerous walkers” a lucrative business model for cities battling budget shortfalls. It should really be called “taxing while walking” — which I find far more dangerous to the public at large.