Put those Blackberries away, and take those headphones out of your ears if you work or live in New York. Well not yet, but the possibility has arisen. New York State Senator Carl Kruger (D) has proposed a bill that would fine anyone $100 caught using Blackberries or iPods while crossing the streets of New York.
“IPod oblivion” Kruger has dubbed it, and he uses the term to describe someone’s state of mind when he/she walks down the street with a Blackberry, iPod, cell phone, and or video game. Instead of paying attention to the street in front of them, one focuses on the electronic tool in front of them and causes injury to oneself because of the inattention to the crosswalk signs.
According to an article by CIO today, Kruger quoted no statistics and/or data proving this true. All he used for reasoning is an example of one man who was killed by a bus while listening to an iPod.
Where could this legislation end? Should we ban sunglasses or caps because they can hinder ones peripheral vision? I have walked the streets many times, and someone bumped into me because he/she could not see me out of the corner of his/her eyes. Someone might bump into me, which causes me to stumble onto the streets and get hit by a car. Is this likely, obviously not? Is it possible? I guess so, but that does not mean we need legislation to ban stocking caps.
The funny thing is, I have not seen or heard of Apple or Blackberry protesting this bill. Maybe because the companies do not think the bill will pass, or maybe because this bill will not affect the gadget makers bottom lines. It’s likely that such a bill would not change the way people walk on the streets.
There is a jaywalking law, but after every changing light someone jaywalks. That is what will happen with this bill. People will still use their electronic devices, oblivious to the possibility of receiving a fine for the infraction until they coincidentally meet up with the wrong cop on the wrong day and get a ticket. They will exchange bad ticket stories with their friends saying something like “I received an iPod on the streets ticket!” But within the next week they will plug their earphones in once again. I can not see such a bill deterring the use of these devices, after all when the urge to hear Bruce Springstein’s “Born to Run” hits, will you really wait to hear it, when the song is sitting right in your back pocket?