Could Texting and Walking Be Banned in NYC?

Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a series of measures to keep dangerous drivers off the road.  The mayor said he's even willing to consider a ban on texting and walking in crosswalks in New York City.

"I've seen people crossing the street texting, who are absolutely oblivious to everything around them and they're putting their life in danger and they're certainly maximizing the chance there might be a crash.  So, I think we have to look at all pieces of the equation.  I don't have a proposal for you today but that's something we would certainly look at," Mayor de Blasio said.

De Blasio said he hasn't considered the idea before, but is willing to now.

The mayor proposed expanding the speed enforcement camera program and increase fines for repeat offenders.  The mayor also proposed suspending the registration for repeat offenders and requiring that physicians notify the DMV when a driver has a medical event that could cause them to lose control of their vehicle.  The proposals need the approval of the state.

“In the wrong hands, a car can be a deadly weapon. We are fighting on every front to make our streets safer, but we need Albany’s help to keep dangerous drivers off the road, before we lose another life,” Mayor de Blasio said.

The mayor said he's even will to consider a plan that would ban texting and walking in the crosswalk.

Currently, drivers face a $50 fine every time they commit a red light or speed camera violation.  Under the mayor's plan, the fine would increase to $150 for a third violation and $250 for a fourth violation.  The fifth time a driver is caught, they would face a $300 fine and their insurance would be notified.  A sixth violation would result in a $350 fine and a suspension of their registration.

“This proposed legislation would provide us with additional tools to enhance safety, enforce the law, and keep dangerous drivers off the street,” Police Commissioner James O'Neill said.

The mayor's proposals come after a driver allegedly ran a red light in Park Slope earlier this month and killed 4-year-old Abigail Blumenstein and 20-month old Joshua Lew.  Blumenstein's pregnant mother, Ruthie Ann Miles, was injured.

“After last week’s tragedy in Park Slope, we must act to prevent future tragedies—whether via legislation, street redesign or enforcement,” Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

Photo Credit:  Alice Stockton-Rossini

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