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US town issues Rs 4,500 fines for texting while walking

Text addicts beware — a New Jersey town is mounting a crackdown on texting while walking.

Police in Fort Lee, New Jersey are issuing $85 (Rs 4,500) tickets to anyone caught texting while walking in a clamp-down on dangerous walkers.

In actions which could set a precedent for other police forces around the country, the Fort Lee Police Department (FLPD) have issued 117 tickets for reckless walking in just over one month.


Eyes on the road: Cops say that people on their mobiles are distracted and don’t watch where they walk. Representation pic/thinkstock images

And while it is a common known fact that you should not be texting while driving, the FLPD believe that staring down at your phone crossing from the sidewalk should be punished too.

Reasoning that as reliance on smartphones means more people are not paying attention when they walk, the FLPD point to at least 20 pedestrians hit by cars in the borough in the past year who were culpable of text-walking.

“It’s a big distraction,” said Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas Ripoli.

“Pedestrians aren’t watching where they’re walking, they’re not aware.”

Stepping up patrols around the town, the police have been on the lookout for pedestrians who they say are dangerous walkers.

Ripoli added, “These measures are to remind the pedestrians to be aware not to be on their cell phones and texting.”

Fort Lee Police Department hope that these new procedures will ultimately lead to a fall in accidents involving pedestrians.

20
The number of people who have been hit by cars so far this year in Fort Lee

117
The number of tickets that have been issued to so-called ‘dangerous walkers’

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