Montclair Bans Texting and Walking. Could More Cities Follow?

Texting and walking is a damn near epidemic -- one with serious and, in some cases, unbelievably tragic consequences.

One California city intends to do something about it.

A California city recently made it illegal for pedestrians to use their cellphones while crossing an intersection. Montclair, a city about 33 miles away from Los Angeles, banned the activity at the start of the year.

The reasoning behind the unusual law? Using your cellphones is just as distracting for pedestrians as it is for drivers. In California, it's illegal to use your cellphone while driving.

While the risks of driving and cell phone use are well known, Montclair says the number of people being injured or killed as a result of texting and crossing the street is also staggering.

"Pedestrians now account for 15 percent of all vehicle-related fatalities and when compared, 2016 experienced a 22 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities from 2014,” according to the city. “An estimated 30 percent of pedestrians engage in distracting activities while crossing the street, which include text messaging, phone calls, listening to music, etc."

In Montclair, gazing at your cell while crossing an intersection will now earn you a $100 fine. If it’s your second offense in a 12-month period, make that $200. For every violation thereafter within a 12-month span, you’ll be fined $500. And if you’re hitting that number, it’s time for therapy. Seriously.

Montclair’s new law follows similar ordinances in Honolulu, Hawaii and Maplewood, New Jersey. Given the stakes, we’re likely to see similar ordinances in cities throughout California.

And now, we leave you with a little texting and walking etiquette from the New York Times


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