Cell phones are a wonderful thing aren’t they? They provide us instant access to assistance in emergencies, if you have a signal that is. They also allow us to stay connected with family and friends, conduct business, access the internet, provide driving directions and traffic conditions, play games and acts as cameras and video recorders and are a source of both audio and video entertainment. Yeah they are definitely a handy devise. In fact they are so popular that many people have given up their landlines and use only their cell phones. I’ve considered dropping my landline but my dad’s Life Alert is reliant on a landline, if it wasn’t my home phone would be long gone.
Unfortunately the cell phone has a downside. Many people have a second cell phone that they keep secret from family, friends and business associates. These phones are often used for illegal business dealings, extramarital affairs and other clandestine activities. You see it in the movies all the time, criminals use these phones they call ‘throwaways’ that are untraceable. The perfect way to communicate without the risk of being discovered, unless of course the phone goes off at some inopportune time and then suddenly your busted! It happens…
Another outstanding feature of the cell phone is texting. That is the ability to communicate with someone, anyone without actually having to talk directly to them. We all have situations where we would prefer to simply get a direct answer, a simply yes or no, without having to deal with any hello, how are you pleasantries or any such bullshit. Let’s face facts, sometime we just don’t feel like engaging in conversation with certain individuals. Texting offers what appears to be the perfect solution, quick, simple responses to quick, simple inquiries.
Unfortunately the American public fails to use common sense when it comes to texting. They text anywhere and anytime, at work or play, while in the midst of conversations, while driving and even while walking. Texting or responding to texts while in the company of or in conversation with others is simply rude, while texting while driving is dangerous and illegal in 41 states, but what about texting while walking. Truth be told texting while walking is equally as dangerous as texting while driving. People talking or texting on their cellphones while on foot are not paying attention to their surroundings and prone to accidents.
Just as drivers are distracted when texting, so are pedestrians. Their awareness is reduced to unsafe levels and puts them at greater risk. The Department of Transportation is studying the problem and has labeled the phenomenon “distracted walking”. Distracted walking is responsible for a significant rise in the death or injury of pedestrians particularly in large cities. Pedestrians texting or talking on their cellphones are much more likely to walk in front of cars than those not using phones. Texting or using your cell requires your attention. Walking down a busy city street requires your attention as well. I guess what it really comes down to is staying in touch or staying alive. The choice is yours.
So what’s next for texting pedestrians anti-texting while walking laws? Stiff fines or jail time for repeat offenders? Yeah right. Face facts, new laws are not the answer. The laws against cellphone use while driving is one of the most ignored laws on the books. Any trip down the nearest highway will attest to that. People just don’t care. Staying in touch is just too damn important to them. Do you really believe pedestrians will stop walking and using their cellphones? I seriously doubt it. Some people can’t walk and chew gum at the same time much less walk and text. All I can say is they better watch their step….