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Philadelphia to Fine Pedestrians for Texting: Government Overreach or Common Sense?


"Give Respect, Get Respect."

Philadelphia officials are in the early stages of initiating their "Give Respect, Get Respect" program to improve behavior of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians on city streets. Starting in August, an uptick in citations will be issued for cyclists riding in the wrong lane and even one for texting while walking. Citations will cost offenders up to $120.

CBS Philadelphia reports:

600 bicyclists have already been given warnings since the program started for violations like riding on the sidewalk or running red lights. Car drivers who dangerously text while driving and don’t respect the bike lanes will face similar penalties.

Those who text and walk will face citations as well. While many don't see the harm in quickly responding to text messages or emails on the move, it was not too far from Center City Philadelphia where a woman mindlessly toppled into a mall fountain while texting and walking in Reading, PA.  As the "Splash Heard Around The World" video went viral, the human punchline of the video became frustrated, threatening legal action against mall security for posting the video on the internet rather than coming to her assistance when she fell. Earlier in the year, both New York and Arkansas lawmakers discussed establishing laws in their states taking aim at texting while walking, but both campaigns fizzled out as the year went on.

Philadelphia will use grant money to fund law enforcement looking for violators among the thousands of pedestrians and cyclists who roam the city streets everyday. There are already plans in the works to get another grant to extend the increased enforcement another 40 weeks.

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