Unplugging The Clueless
Most states have laws in place to fine drivers who are talking or texting on phones while driving. Two states want to extend that to pedestrians and joggers. It's about time.
As electronics have become more sophisticated, we as a people who are using these gadgets are getting dumber. Arkansas and New York want to crack down on people using electronic goodies in public because they just aren't paying attention to their surroundings. With more frequency, people are stepping off curbs into moving traffic due largely to texting. Joggers and cyclists are running into, or being run into because of things like iPods. If Arkansas law makers get their way, pedestrians, joggers and cyclists would only be allowed to wear headphones in one ear. If a proposal in New York is passed, it would cost violators $100 if caught crossing the street while using an electric device, but that would only be in cities with a population of one million or more. So if you get hit by a vehicle because you weren't paying attention in a cross walk in a city of say, 500,000 people, you won't get a fine. On a serious note, pedestrian fatalities rose slightly in the first half of 2010 over 2009, and over all, pedestrian deaths make up 12 percent of traffic fatalities in the United States. Back in the day, if you stepped off a wooden boardwalk into the path of a horse and carriage and got rolled to the point it caused your untimely death, that was called thinning of the herd. Town folk would bow their heads and say what a shame, he or she was so young, but someone would mutter, "the poor sap didn't have the brains god gave a wagon wheel." People would nod their heads in agreement, and go about the daily routine. This brings me to my point: fines, lectures, precautions and even education will not prevent a person who is so wrapped up in what is happening on the phone or iPod, from walking into a pond at the mall or into the path of a city bus. The smarter we get, the more worried I become. "Hey you, now that you're laying in a hospital bed, you have plenty of time to text your friends and let them know what room you're in."