Should Texting While Walking Be Banned

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Ethan Y.

A child using his phone while walking on the streets.

It is widely well known that texting while driving is illegal in many places because it has resulted in many fatal and disastrous accidents caused by the distraction of the drivers. It is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Six million car accidents occur every year in this nation. However, should texting while walking be made illegal as well?

Texting while walking is already banned in some places. One place where this ban is in effect is Honolulu, which allows police officers to fine people ranging from 15 to 99 dollars if they are looking at their phones while on the streets. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell states, “We hold the unfortunate distinction of being a major city with more pedestrians being hit in crosswalks, particularly our seniors, than almost any other city in the county.” In Montclair, California, it is illegal to talk, text, or have earbuds when crossing the street. 

Why exactly is texting bad while walking, and why is it bad enough to pass a law banning it? According to the National Safety Council, there were 5,987 pedestrian fatalities in 2016 alone. Looking at phones while walking forces people to multitask and splits their concentration (contrary to many opinions, people are very bad at multitasking), therefore opening major opportunities for accidents to occur. Researchers found out that texting while walking has a higher chance of accidents because of the failure to look left and right before crossing the street. 

Pedestrians using their phones in the streets can walk into street signs, walls, people, bikes, and even cars. Due to this, these people tend to blame drivers for the cause of the crash. This can cause an even more chaotic society, especially in technology-reliant communities today.

Although it may be illegal in some places and not in others, there should still be an overall safety policy regarding the smartphone walking problem. There can be a warning the first time, punishment the second time system in order to reduce the number of casualties due to distracted walking. According to the National Safety Council, around one in five high schoolers have died due to the distraction of their phones while walking. This can also greatly reduce the accidents that occur and sustain a safe environment for all people. 

On the other hand, adding laws in order to stop smartphone walking is too severe of a fine for this more trivial problem. For instance, texting while driving is illegal in several places, however, people still do it anyway. The same can apply to the combination of smartphones, walking, people, and cars. People are most likely to complain and petition the government to change or remove the law. 

As the debate still goes on, people continue to use their phones on the streets, which contribute to a number of accidents that are happening all over the world. Either if it becomes illegal or stays legal, all should remain cautious and stay safe, and try not to get distracted while walking.