What's Bugging You?

What's bugging you? Pedestrians who text

Monday, August 01, 2011

Texting while driving will get you a ticket. But what about texting while walking down the sidewalk or inside a mall? Should that be a crime too? Eyewitness News viewers say people who walk and text is what's bugging them.

A video of a woman walking and texting inside a mall, and eventually falling into a fountain because she didn't see it, has been seen by millions on YouTube. The woman was embarrassed, but not hurt. Doing that while crossing the street can be a different story.

Carolyn Henley-Johnson and her daughter say they see people so distracted by texting or talking on the phone they just step off the curb and onto the street.

"I don't think they have a clue about drivers," Carolyn Henley-Johnson said. "I think they're in another world and there is no one around them.

"Especially if I'm at a mall, they just step out and I slam on my brakes," said Carolyn Henley-Johnson's daughter, Cherish Johnson.

The law says cars have to stop for pedestrians. But do you trust every driver to follow the law? Should there be rules for pedestrians as well?

The person who wrote the law that banned texting while driving says there should not be a law banning texting and walking at the same time.

"I'm not inclined to do that," said California Sen. Joe Simitian, a Democrat from Palo Alto. "At some point we just have to ask folks to be responsible for their own common sense and well being."

Simitian says if you text and drive you can hurt others. It's an issue of public safety. If you're a distracted pedestrian, the only victim could be you.

"When you're a pedestrian, you're at greater risk than any of us who are out there at least buckled in and behind the wheel of the car. We've got some protection behind that steel," he said.

Simitian says about 40 percent of drivers still text while driving. He is working to make the fines tougher and add cyclists to the law.

"My hope is that we can not only increase the fines for handheld texting violations, but also apply the law to cyclists," Simitian said. "Hard to believe people are out there cycling while they're holding that handheld cellphone to their ear or texting, but I see them every day."

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technology, what's bugging you?, carlos granda
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