The city of Stamford, Connecticut, could soon outlaw the act of “texting and walking” if one city representative has his way.
John Zelinsky, a member of the Stamford Board of Representatives, submitted a proposal to the city last week that would ban pedestrians from texting, talking, or even listening to music on their cellphones while crossing the street in Stamford. He believes those engaging in “distracted walking” could pose a danger to themselves and to others, and said the intention is to keep people safe.
“My whole objective in doing this is to prevent any more injuries of pedestrians getting injured or killed,” Zelinsky told WABC-TV. “I don’t want any more injuries or deaths as a result of pedestrians getting hit. We’ve had about four or five within the past three or four years,” he said.
The Pedestrian Safety Ordinance would allow police officers to hand out a $30 citation to anyone using their cellphone while crossing the street, though there would be an exception made for 911 emergency calls. Zelinsky insisted the fine is not meant to boost the city’s revenue, but to give residents an incentive to follow the ordinance.
“The purpose is not to raise money, but to make the public aware when they’re crossing the street, that they can’t assume that a car is going to stop, even though they have the red light,” he said.
He also said that his proposal has Stamford police support.
“I’ve spoken to Police Chief [Jonathan] Fontneau about it. They have foot patrols on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening and hopefully, they will start giving out tickets if this does pass — and I hope it does,” Zelinsky told WABC.
The city already banned texting while driving in 2016. Zelinsky said the “distracted walking” measure already has strong support and the city council could pass it as soon as October.
Last month, Honolulu became the first city in the nation to ban the usage of cellphones while crossing the street.