back to article Ban using mobiles while crossing street, says US legislator

UK drivers are banned from talking into mobiles for legitimate reasons, but are walking and talking pedestrians a public health hazard too? One US legislator thinks so, and he’s drawn up a bill banning people from doing that. Republican politician Kenneth Dunkin hopes his bizarre bill will make it illegal to use a mobile phone …


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  1. Steven Knox


    the problem would soon solve itself, if the danger is indeed as Dunkin claims?

  2. Charles Hammond
    Paris Hilton

    Just Smash The Phone

    The law should read that the cops will take the phone and samsh it to bits right then and there. I am tired of all these oafs walking around with a phone attached to their head. I think not only are they a walking safety violation, but they need serious mental help. They hold up lines in stores and theaters and then act like snobs if you say anything to them. They are a public nuisance.

    They are typical Air Heads.

  3. Anigel


    Well I guess they must have people on the streets there then as over here where the police are too busy hiding from the public (unless there is a free ticket to a major sporting event in it for them) there is never anyone to catch anyone doing anything.

    Mines the paramedic one to make it easier to treat people for shock who have seen a bobby on the beast for the first time in 10 years.

  4. John
    Paris Hilton

    You Have To Be Kidding

    I'm a Yank on the West Coast. This has got to be the most rediculous law I have heard in a long time. Ban cell use while crossing the street? WTF? Better ban reading a map while driving, talking to anybody while doing anything, and breathing too. I doubt very much that a bill this asanine will ever get passed.

    paris, because SHE would need this law with a gum chewing addition.

  5. Ian Ferguson

    I have the solution!

    I have a solution that would keep both groups of people happy (those who think mobiles cause dangerous distractions, and those that think it's no different to talking to a friend):

    Fine people who are hit by cars.

  6. Damn Yank

    Illinois = Nanny State

    I live in Illinois and we are indeed the dictionary definition of a Nanny State... Smoke Free, Gun Control, No Foie Gras on Chicago menus, etc.

  7. John Boyarsky
    Paris Hilton


    This is a stupid law.

    Let's save the death count for it's own special Darwin Award catagory!

    (Paris-- just cause no one would laugh if she was first)

  8. brian

    A simple solution

    You could sort out drivers and pedestrian mobile use by attaching the mobile to an outlet socket with a wire...... errr.... ohh.....

  9. ImaGnuber

    What next?

    Nanny State.

    It's a slippery slope - next thing you know you won't be allowed to use a phone while walking and we won't get to watch idiots walking into poles, slipping on doggy-doo...

  10. Dave


    It sounds to me as though he's trying to repeal part of Darwin's Law.

  11. Ian

    Why not tackle the root cause?

    Why not tackle the root cause? The only way to stop people doing stupid things that might harm themselves is to make stupidity illegal. This would have the positive side effect of putting the vast majority of politicians behind bars.

    Two quotes come to mind: The classic redneck's last words "Hay Y'all, watch me!" and Robert Heinlein's "Think of it as evolution in action."


  12. kain preacher

    lets ban

    eating while driving, putting on make up, shaving, not paying attention to the road.

    Oh wait it already is illegal. In California you can get a ticket for doing anything that could be a distraction to your driving. Does not stop people though.

  13. kain preacher

    oops my fault

    didnt read the article carefully enough. He was talking about walking. In that case lets ban old folks, deaf folks , and blind people from crossing the street.

  14. b shubin

    Cart before horse

    don't criminalize the phone, legalize hitting the idiot. very soon, there will be no idiots talking on the phones while jaywalking, because the really stupid ones will be dead, and the smart ones can dodge fast enough to stay out of my way.

    credit: Darwin.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    It's good to walk

    I actually quite like this idea.

    Some pedestrians have no road sense what so ever.

  16. Josh

    Mmmm... Hmmmm...

    So talking to yourself with a piece of metal attached to your ear somehow raises the amount of walking accidents.

    Don't drink and walk, and there's no such thing as safe speeding [when you're walking].

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What do we care what they do over the pond?

  18. Dave
    Paris Hilton


    If you use a mobile phone whilst driving and wreck the car, there is a good chance you may take some other poor sod with you.

    If you're a ped on the phone. Well if you're that stupid to not see the big SUV...

    Paris because she probably IS that dumb

  19. Nils Hormel

    Think of the drivers

    Who is thinking of the poor drivers? Having to deal with the stress of getting their car fixed because of a mobe toting zombie is no fun. And if you are driving a Prius, the car is totalled and you have to deal with the shame of all that carbon footprint to get another one.

  20. Chad H.

    A public safety Idea

    US Politicians should be banned from talking, for the health and safety of all the worlds citizens.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uh, no officer...

    ...actually I wasn't talking on my phone, I was:

    1) taking a photo/video

    2) listening to music

    3) texting

    4) browsing the web

    5) reading my e-mail


  22. mike panero

    Means Oil is still too cheap

    Imagine trying to do this in 1770 Boston, all things kept the same (i.e. yes stupid, suppose they had li-ion batteries and mobile phones etc)

    Oil will therefore exceed $200 a barrel by august 2008

  23. H
    Thumb Down


    So if you're in the middle of a conversation while you're walking down the street, what are you supposed to do? Say "hang on mate, I'm just crossing the road, I'll call you back"?

  24. heystoopid


    Or , how soon we forget what happened in another age not all that long ago to the digital age , to what happened to many users of the first truly mobile small compact cassette machine called the "walkman" as motorists splattered the mindless end users lost in the volume of the loud better class of music as they meandered across the road , giving rise to the shoulder mounted all purpose large "Boom Box" instead , to circumvent the headphone ban that swept the land !

    I must be getting old in years to remember that bit of mindless trivia , or that history tends to repeat itself in the same endless circles at every change of technology !

    But then again , it has been pointed out else where that wandering around answering your mobile communication device other then sitting at your desk with all it's delightful things like an off switch , message bank recording , SMS text message and all that other lovely digital recording features , is like being drunk as skunk at the wheel of the lethal weapon called a motor car !

  25. Dafydd Lawrence

    @John RE: You Have To Be Kidding

    >WTF? Better ban reading a map while driving, talking to anybody while doing anything, and breathing too.

    Err.. you mean to say that reading a map while driving is not already illegal over there???

  26. Kevin
    Thumb Down

    Yea Right...

    As someone who lives in Chicago I vote the law should be changed to the family of the person that gets hit, while he is talking on a cell phone and jaywalking at the same time, should be responsible for damages for the car that hit him and the driver should not be held responsible.

    That would so solve a lot of traffic jams from morons stopping in the middle of main streets looking at their cell phone's, and help Darwin out.

  27. Captain DaFt

    @ Ian

    Actually, the sure phrase that a Red neck is going to do something Darwinian is, "Here, hold my beer a second."

    Every time I've heard it, cuts, bruises burns and/or emergency equipment for the speaker usually followed!

  28. Kanhef
    Paris Hilton

    Can't we...

    make a law to send people to jail for being stupid? It would be so much easier. 'Course, we'd need a lot more prisons.

    Paris – if you have to ask...

  29. Christopher Martin

    Statistical justification?

    "... the politician has noticed a pattern of pedestrians talking into mobile phones coming dangerously close to being hit by a car."

    I don't know enough to have an opinion on this, and probably neither does any other commenter. I just hope this bill is being based on some sort of real evidence of a problem, not on anecdotes from some elected dude.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    What next?

    Are they also going to stop your from crossing the street when drunk?

  31. Steve Lubman

    I suggest....

    I suggest that from now on, before a new stupid law is to be added to the books, several existing stupid laws must be repealed first. Over time this should solve the problem entirely.

  32. Vijay Jairaj

    Shoot them

    They're most irritating while texting and walking at a very slow pace on a narrow footpath, while you're in a hurry for an appointment/meeting and stuck behind them. And so focussed on the phone that your "Excuse me" falls on deaf ears. A gentle nudge with bag/umbrella usually works fine, but personally, I'd prefer a vapourising device.

    Or at least a gun to blow the phone to bits.

    Legislating against this is pointless. Hopefully, evolution will set this right. Am not sure though, because most governments seem to legislating towards a "survival of the stupidest" policy.

    Mine's the astronaut suit - I need a different planet

  33. Josh

    Re: Dafydd

    Duh, the cars, objects and people will update as the triangle moves up the map. ;)

  34. Matthew Brown
    Black Helicopters


    How long till Ken Livingstone tries this in London?

  35. Chris Bradshaw

    Speed limits

    Wouldn't it be better to just have a speed limit for pedestrians? If people are walking slowly enough, the cars will have enough time to swerve and miss them.. This would also solve the 'running out in front of a car' problem. Enforcement is easy - just use speed guns, same as for cars.

    It would also make jogging less tiring :-)

  36. Tiim
    Thumb Up

    It makes sense..............

    The average person who only ever takes a car driving license once in their life makes mistakes all the time, look at the pileups on the roads. Then they turn round and don't "see" how using a phone and crossing a road can be a problem? I find pedestrians falling into the road everywhere against self preservation, but there is a major problem appearing with mobile phone users who aren't looking around them, seem to find that one fixed head position to actually use their phone in.

    Because mobile phone use when walking is so prominent in this day and age, a law has to be put into effect to specifically target them. All pedestrians already have the highway code to constrain them, but they don't follow that as it is. Policemen aren't on every street corner to sort them out. Pedestrians as a whole aren't being socially minded and need to be fined where they haven't got any sense.

    I don't want the mental suffering of running down one of them. So we need laws to punish them, to prevent them harming others (and cyclists do get rather hurt when they hit these buggers!)

  37. Simon
    Thumb Up

    I like this idea

    Yes I know it may be difficult to inforce, but yeah, go flame me.

    People here talk about Darwin and them getting run over but what about people like me who ride a motorbike and could get seriously hurt if i ran into them.

    I get this problem a lot with people using phones and music players. I do the biker thing and give them a friendly toot of the horn to let them know im there, and for some idiots i get abuse back. Apparently its not their problem.

    "You were probably speeding anyhow" they say, well if they suspect me of speeding then thats an even better reason for them looking!

    "Theres a stop sign over there" they say, but you arnt crossing on the stop sign.

    "its not my problem, you are supposed to slow down for me, its illegal to hit a pedestrian" they say. No *hit, well then you show some courtesy and look before you walk out and im forced to do an emergency stop.

    Yes, im quoting what people have said to me.

    Personal responsibility for your own safety, that is the phrase im thinking of, you idiot.

  38. Aditya Krishnan

    @ Ian

    Wasn't that line from Niven's "Oath of Fealty"?

  39. Tam Lin

    Catching the Jaytalkers

    It would have to be handled by the meter maids, an army of whom ride around in blue golf carts.

    In Chicago, the police don't walk - most weigh at least 16 stone (roughly 425 dozen donuts). And that is a good thing, because ticketing an off-duty cop in Chicago can get you handcuffed, arrested and thrown in jail.

  40. ImaGnuber


    "Hopefully, evolution will set this right. Am not sure though, because most governments seem to legislating towards a "survival of the stupidest" policy."

    I fear we *are* seeing evolution in action here. The development of civil society has allowed the stupid to sidestep natural selection and impose 'legislative selection' in an apparently successful move to multiply their own kind.

    I'll get my coat - though there no longer seems to be anywhere to go to get away from these people.

    Hmm... awfully cynical for a Saturday morning. My caffeine kickstart hasn't kicked in yet, I guess.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    Does this mean American's actually walk places? Wow - I thought if they wanted to cross the street they'd get in their car, drive 2 miles and end up back where they started, on the other side of the road...

  42. Geoff Mackenzie

    Ban mobile phone use on the move generally

    Mobile phones would be far safer if you could only use them at a single designated address...

    By the way, why can't I use Joke Alert and I'll Get My Coat simultaneously?

  43. JC

    It's a GREAT idea.

    I wouldn't mind so much if someone who perpetually ignores oncoming cars was struck, but there is another benefit to such a law, to train phone users to occasionally hang the damn thing up.

    Get them used to making quicker calls where they just say what they had to say because they may need to hang up soon. Having a phone is a great convenience but should be used in moderation when it's effecting others around the user. It's a shame we seem to need legislation to cause a basic level of courtesy but when all else fails that's what you're left with.

    To the prior poster who asked if reading maps while driving should be illegal, yes are you kidding? What an irresponsible person to feel they have a right to endanger other people for their convenience. If it's not safe to pull off the road to read a map then it's not safe to do it on the road either.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    How to Save time and money


    simple really. :)

    just one simple law and it sorts out all the problems in one strike.

    No more health risks to pedestrians, drivers or inocent bystanders being irradiated.

    It really Saves BILLIONS!!! - look:

    # Money wasted by police and courts in enforcement,

    # Eliminates the cause of ADHD and other anti-social activities of criminals and bored youth,

    # Reduces the cost to the nation on funding the NHS with all those cancer patients caused by effects of mobile phone radiation,

    # Makes a real effect to reduce the nation's Carbon footprint as well.

    # Saves a fortune to married men on the huge phone bills thier wife's and kids run up talking rubbish to in-laws and friends for hours a day.

    It really is a win-win-win-win situation :)

    mines the camoflaged crinkly kevlar hoody...

    illuminatus ;p

  45. Donald Miller

    More points

    Double points for taking out a cell-talking pedestrian if you're driving whilst talking to that pedestrian on your cellphone?

  46. Anonymous Coward

    Wrong direction

    I can see where this guy is coming from - I normally walk out of my house and straight across the road to get to town. Once or twice I've been on the phone and just caught myself stepping of the curb without looking. Its really easy to do.

    But of course, banning doing it won't change anything. What would help is a simple phone feature that delivers a pre-recorded message like "beep very sorry, - back with you in a moment" while you attend to a small matter of personal survival. Its just a politeness thing - the person you're talking to doesn't know you're crossing a road. If they did, they'd almost certainly want you to stop talking and look out for cars (just as if they were standing beside you, which is why that comparison is useless), so all you need is some accepted convention for a way to let them know.

  47. Richard Penna


    There are a million things more dangerous than talking on a phone while crossing the road, and to be honest, it's an individual's responsibility to consider their safety.

    And also, how on earth would it be enforced? You can 'ban' stuff all you want, but people will still do it. The world is not a particularly safe place, just live with it and stop pushing these stupid rules.

  48. Josh

    Re: Eh?

    No one drives in America, particularly New York. There's too much traffic.

  49. John Watts

    In the UK anyway

    Just about the first thing the highway code says is give way to pedestrians.

    That said any pedestrian should look where they're going.

    I've been speaking on a mobile whilst walking before and wondered how I got where I was after the conversation (about fifteen minutes) finished.

    When you're speaking on the phone, you're not in the same place that your body is; you're conscious mind is somewhere else. Having said that your unconscious mind is taking care of the stuff you do all the time - like when you manage to get home when you're so pissed you can barely get undressed when you actually get home (never done it? try drinking more).

    The driver should be aware of what's going on around them. The pedestrian should too. But when it comes to it, it's the driver that's propelling a ton of metal at thirty miles per hour (because anywhere you're really like to come across a pedestrian crossing the road, the speed limit is thirty).

    So whether the pedestrian is paying attention or not (and they should be) the ultimate responsibility lies with the driver as they're the ones that are acting outside of nature's limits (see how long you can travel at thirty miles per hour on foot).

    On a slightly unrelated note, I think a better law to pass would be to make everyone re-take their driving test every ten years.

  50. skeptical i

    "inattention enhancement"

    If walking and cellphoning is banned today, it'll be walking and something else tomorrow, and the day after, and so on as technology keeps giving us new toys (not that toys are a prerequisite for inattention, btw). So just add an "inattention enhancement" that will increase the fine, jail time, and/or whatever other punishment is doled out to pedestrians who are being distracted and walking out into traffic outside of a crosswalk; those who survive the impact might learn a lesson, those who don't become self- solving problems, and those who actually demonstrate a modicum of reponsibility while walking and cellphoning (and chewing gum) won't be punished for others' stupidity. Since many 'Murkin burgs have fallen prey to having crosswalks every- frikken- where because ppl just don't want to walk that extra two blocks to a "real" intersection complete with traffic lights, crosswalks, and the whole pedestrian safety enchilada (this scheme makes money for the traffic device contractors, allows the elected ward/ council/ area representatives to demonstrate concern for constituent safety, and generates more fines/ income for law enforcement -- everybody wins! -- so it'll be a long slow walk around the block before ppl are given a reason to pay attention and not be stupid), I don't expect anyone to be unduly burdened.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Charles Hammond

    By your logic, the existence of idiotic AOL girls going "omg a/s/l lol" would be proof that anyone with a keyboard is an "Air Head". Smooth.

    I know, I know, feeding the troll...

  52. Stephen
    Paris Hilton

    Think of it...

    "Think of it as evolution in action" is actually a quote from "Oath of fealty" by Niven and Pournelle, not RAH.

    Paris, because in my perfect world she would already know this...

  53. Anonymous Coward

    It's easy - make decent bumpers compulsory

    Look, this is a temporary problem in the same way that you now only find rats that don't eat anything that looks like rat poison: darwinian selection.

    Intelligence (did I spell that correctly?) is hereditary. This means a lack thereof too.

    I'll have the lab coat, please

  54. Alan
    Thumb Up

    I agree with the proposal...

    ...and it should be introduced in the UK quickly. On numerous occasions someone using a mobile phone has stepped out in front of my car, fortunately with no serious consequences (so far!). I've seen it happen to others as well, causing a car to swerve or brake sharply, and being hit by another vehicle.

    Teenage mothers seem to be the worst offenders, talking or texting on the mobile, pushing a baby in a pushchair straight off the footpath onto the road in front of a stream of traffic, with the resultant squeal of brakes and the sound of crushing metal.

    It would be interesting to see the statistics on how many children have been killed or injured in this way.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do Americans walk?

    "I thought if they wanted to cross the street they'd get in their car, drive 2 miles..."

    No, mate, for distances like that, we fly.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    darwin at work...

    why do they even bother?

    simple darwin at work here...

    the more idiots on the phone while driving or walking just brings up their chances of removal from human gene pool through simple inattention on their part.(sadly some of these jersks will take some bystanders with them).the law or proposal of it would just try to save these self centered snobish pimples on butt of humanity.

    besides i need something new to read on the darwin awards.

    how about just modding the law a bit if passed ?

    if caught either walking or driving while using their mobile let them stay in a small coordoned off area about 12 blocks square or so with other idiots let and let them take their chances against each other for few days while doing what they normally do. to pay for such entertaining way of passing on have it as ppv event with a bit of vegas mixed in so people can actully win some scratch while entertained.

    besides can you think of more fitting punishment other than taking their toys away?

    it would serve a purpouse in a way in following:

    entertainment value

    eliminates snobbish jerks at random for betterment of society at large

    brings extra taxable revenue from gambling and entertainment industries

    survivors are least most likely to repeat the offence

    fear value to some of the most dim witted at large

    could be a new sport

    BTW i never said i was kind and understanding....just plain mean and practical for my own ends.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ John Watts

    The highway code does NOT say give way to pedestrians.

    It does say, that if you are turning at a junction, then any pedestrians *already* in the road have the right of way.

    Rule 170

    Now let's look at the rules for pedestrians - Oh look, they're supposed to stop, look and listen, and not just step straight out - even at a pedestrian crossing. They're also not supposed to cross diagonally or loiter and they are supposed to show due care and consideration for others.

    Rules 1 to 35

    So when was the last time you read the highway code John ?

    Besides which, who is going to get hurt most ? Surely you have a responsibility to yourself not to get run down. The law is not there to guarantee your safety. The really annoying thing is that most of the dumb pedestrians I come across are also car drivers //shudder//

  58. Ian Michael Gumby

    Anyone else live in Chicago? I do...

    And I can tell you that while the politician is serious, I would have to suggest this as more of a way to raise revenue if you happen to be texting in front of an attentive cop.

    In the City, we have an ordinance that its illegal to drive with a cell phone in your hand. You can wear a head set or have a wireless kit set up in your car, but you can be pulled over if you're seen with a cell in your hand up to your head.

    Its a friggin joke. Everyday I walk my doggies in the city after work.

    I can tell you that I see at least 5 people talking on their cell as they drive. You think pedestrians are an issue, try a driver, who is either from the 'burbs or out of town talking to someone and trying to get directions... its an accident waiting to happen.

    Get caught, its a decent fine.

    Durkin is an idiot. But hey! What do you expect from local politicians.

  59. Jeffrey Nonken


    Actually it was Jerry Pournelle, not Robert Heinlein. "Oath of Fealty."

  60. Christopher

    BAN Headset Music use for the same reasons

    Many people here in Switzerland are being hit by cars because of iPod and such listeners.. One Girl was tossed 50 meters by a train killing her in the impact.. and many more pedestrians meeting the same fate with cars...

    We are Just loosing track of stupidity, ie. we seem to have pointed all the fingers at poor drivers for too long..... Responsibility is for ALL of us.

    I recently made a near miss, screeching to a halt, inches away.... I screamed at the crossing pedestrian, he had no clue..... An i was tormented for the rest of the day in my mind to what if I had hit him.....

    Great Bill, hope it becomes more widely spread than this state, and makes it to Europe too

  61. J

    @Think of the drivers

    Actually, that is something to think about...

    Well, not the repairing of the car and all that (although that's obviously bad too). But have you or some relative ever killed a pedestrian? A relative of mine has done that, and she was totally innocent in the whole business: drunk guy crossing a big highway, far from city, late at night; he did not get hit by the 18-wheeler, but my relative who was just to the left of the truck did not even have time to see the moron, and he ended up being thrown more than 100m away. Lucky for my family, they were going to the farm in a large pickup truck, so none of them got hurt.

    So, she was quite traumatized by having killed someone, even if a scumbag (for you to have an idea, his family didn't even mind his death much, he was always drunk and beating up the wife and kids), and it not the driver's fault at all. She still has nightmares about that every once in a while, although years later it's mostly gone now.

    That said, the proposed bill is stupid anyway...

  62. Byron Langslow

    who the fcuk cares?

    You dont like it? move. or vote out your retarded gov't and get a new one.

    Or run for govt yourself then change the law.

  63. Maty

    accident waiting to happen

    Try living in Cambridge (the UK one) where every summer herds of continental kids come on school trips. Glued to their mobiles and iPods they step off the kerb in front of your vehicle, with the few who are paying attention still looking up the road in the wrong direction.

    One day this will happen in front of a bus or HGV, and some French village will be a generation short.

  64. Anonymous Coward

    Surely it's nothing like using a car?

    If you're walking and about to cross the road, you've got far more time to stop, look and listen. Though your listening may be impaired by the phone.

    Hey, we could call this guy's laws Dunkin Do-Nots!

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some pedestrians have no road sense what so ever.

    True even when they *aren't* yakking into a phone. In general, people's situational awareness is just appalling. They don't seem to realise that they're in the way when they stop dead in pedestrian traffic. Most people don't even *try* and minimise the disruption they cause to other people's progress.

  66. Andrew Taylor

    Mobile phones and crossing the road.

    This is a silly bill.

    One of the problems why the IQ of the general public is deteriorating is because of all the dumbing down and molly-codling.

    Natural selection is not taking place. In the "old days" the stupid amongst us would be weeded out. And now? They are beginning to out-number us.


  67. Martin Harris

    Green Cross Code anyone???

    Whatever happened to the green cross code??

    Stop, look, listen. Pretty easy init!!

    Got fined 50 bucks the other day for crossing on a empty road. I thought Jaywalking was a US thang not an Ozzy one......

    Maybe the US could do with the classic Keegan adverts to save some lives : )

  68. A J Stiles

    Surely Some Mistake

    I always thought that the general rule of the road was that you give way to anyone whose vehicle is less powerful than your own -- so pedestrians have absolute right-of-way anywhere on the Queen's Highway.

    Car drivers seem to think that as long as they are safe in their own little tin boxes, nobody else matters.

  69. Anonymous Coward

    The laws cause more distractions

    I still eat while driving, use my phone while driving, read a map/operate the Sat Nav, argue with the wife, grab the dog off my lap and throw him into the back seat again etc etc. But I now have the added distraction of keeping an eye out for the filth while doing so.. Taking a call and eating a Tescos pre-packed sarnie should be part of the driving test.

  70. brimful

    @ Vijay

    "Am not sure though, because most governments seem to legislating towards a "survival of the stupidest" policy."

    That's because stupid people spend more, consume more, breed more stupid people for the benefit of the intelligent people. With that logic, he's only thinking of his wallet and comfortable lifestyle instead of giving a damn about stupid people. I say let stupid people do stupid things. After all, who are we to stop stupidity?

  71. Paul Banacks

    "It's no different than the driver talking to a passenger."

    “It's no different than if I'm walking with a friend and talking".

    Actually, that argument didn't work out when used for mobile phones in cars...

    "It's no different than the driver talking to a passenger."

    It is *very* different.

    The bottom line is this. Using a road is an inherently risky task. Inattention greatly increases this risk. It makes perfect sense that rules of the road apply to all road users and those include pedestrians crossing the street.

  72. brimful

    @ A J Stiles

    "I always thought that the general rule of the road was that you give way to anyone whose vehicle is less powerful than your own"

    Next come cyclists. :)

  73. Anonymous Coward

    @John Watts - In the UK anyway

    "The pedestrian should too. But when it comes to it, it's the driver that's propelling a ton of metal at thirty miles per hour "

    ...Which will stop in 75ft. according to the Highway Code. So if you step out 40ft in front of a car doing 30mph, it's not going to stop. Laws of physics aand all that.

  74. Steve

    NO NO NO, there is already a better solution.......

    ...we should put 'cushions' around all hard object such that clumsy texting pedestrians won't be hurt when they walk into things.

    You think I'm kidding? It has already been done...

    You'll all be very pleased to read that it's not an April Fools joke!

  75. Red Bren

    @Geoff Mackenzie

    With some refinement, your idea has merit.

    Just get the base station to automatically disconnect the call if it detects a doppler shift in the mobile's signal and peace and safety will reign! No more idiot pedestrians/cyclists/motorists distracted by phone calls. No more annoying gits on buses/trains filling the air with shouts of "Yeah, I'm on a train..."

    The only way you can make a call is if you keep absolutely still. It could then be rebranded as the immobile phone...

  76. chris

    in other news...

    ....calls for a ban on short skirts in areas known to have been visited by rapists.

    Scuse the tasteless analogy but all this Malthusian bollocks from car drivers is obscuring the twisted blame-the-victim mentality behind this proposal.

    You're driving more than a ton of metal at high (or moderate) speeds then there's a power imbalance and responsibility there that demands you pay more attention than Mr Random Hungover-Guy out for a pint of milk.

    Has no-one taken a driving test recently? Hazard Perception is part of it now. Drive assuming everyone is about to walk / pull out in front of you and everyone's a lot safer, no need for stupid laws that assume drivers own a city's streets.

  77. Paul

    Forget them...

    First we need to work on Cyclists who don't have the first clue what is going on. Like 90% of them. Some are very good, but most are fools (at least where I live).

    Then we work on the other problems.

    @A J Stiles

    No they dont. Read back and look for the post about the high way code.

  78. Vance P. Frickey
    Thumb Down

    It's just jaywalking.

    No need to penalize mobile/cellphone use as an aggravating factor - if someone's jaywalking, they're already violating the law.

    This is proof that there is no difference between the Republican and Democratic parties on important issues such as individual freedom.

    Both parties are firmly committed to the nanny state, because the government has more power when it is the final arbiter on all aspects of the citizen's life - and politicians are first, last and always power-addicted cretins regardless of their political affiliation. They are the civic equivalent of the mother-in-law.

  79. Anonymous Coward

    pointless idea

    Actually, it is allowed to use cellphones in cars when installing a handsfree system, or via BT headset. The point here is that the driver needs both hands to navigate, and the point is not that drivers cannot engage in a conversation while on the road which they do anyway with fellow passangers...

    In case of walking and talking, well the hands are not really needed, and no law can prevent us from talking to ourselves or other people while crossing the road - then why not allow mobile phones?

    Besides, when using a BT headset it will be difficult to identify someone talking on the cellphone. So must we also take off the headset when crossing the road? And what about music players - which may have at least the same level of distraction, and also allow us to have a plug in our ears?

  80. Brendan Sullivan

    In some places...

    in the US some states (many in fact) have laws which give permanent right of way to pedestrians (you can't jaywalk if you have right of way) over vehicles. However many of these states are populated with motorists who have no concept of this (or even what "right of way" means) and routinely ignore traffic laws (much less general niceties such as not stopping with the middle of their large 4 door saloon car or SUV in the crosswalk or not leaning on their horn when you cross the street while they are several hundred feet and two intersections away).

    If there is an issue with pedestrians on mobile phones being "nearly" hit by automobiles why not legislate against reckless driving, failing to take proper care when driving in urban areas and pedestrian crossings and make stiff penalties for hitting pedestrians the norm. Oh... wait, that's what things like charging drunk/distracted drivers with negligent homicide and manslaughter (both carry penalties of 15+ years of incarceration in state or federal prisons) or reckless endangerment are for.

  81. bruce hyman


    it's real simple. we need all motorists to be preceded by a gentleman walking in the roadway, carrying a red lantern and sounding a klaxon every 50 feet.

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