The city pushing to ban texting
A PROPOSED state law would slap stiff fines on pedestrians who text and email on their phones while crossing the street - and frustrated motorists are already tooting their horns in support.
"There will be a green light and people will still be texting in the middle of the street," cabbie Carlos Rodriguez complained to The Post while waiting near New York's Penn Station on Thursday.
"I stop so I don't hit the person, then I get a $US110 ($A160) ticket for stopping at a green light. I'm sick of it!"
The law would impose fines of $US25 ($A36) to $US50 ($A73) on first-time offenders, while death-wish texters who stride right back into the pedestrian crossing and repeat the offence within 18 months would be hit with fines as high as $US250 ($A364).
The proposal is still in committee in both the state Senate and Assembly, but the idea is already on a collision course with pedestrians who seemingly believe texting in traffic is their God-given right as New Yorkers.
"What a dumb proposal," scoffed Chris Werner, 36, who barely looked up from his phone as he crossed West 32nd Street.
"I'm still going to text while crossing."
Alejandro Cerda, 29, agreed as he texted his way across Seventh Avenue at 27th Street.
"Can we vote these politicians out of office since they're brain dead?" said the Lower East Side resident.
The law would include the use of any kind of "portable electronic device" - meaning laptops and electronic gaming devices - although it exempts texting during an emergency.
But it's aimed primarily at people who text and walk, say sponsors Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (Democrat, Bronx) and Sen. John Liu (Democrat, Queens).
"I have been receiving so many complaints from people saying, 'Please ban text messaging when people are crossing,' " Mr Ortiz said.
This story first appeared in the New York Post and is republished with permission.