Nobody should be looking at a smartphone while crossing the road. But do we really need the government to tell us that, much less impose fines if we make such a bad decision?
If you’re not dissuaded from texting by the prospect of being hit by a car travelling at 60 kilometres per hour, are you likely to put down your phone just because now there’s a small chance someone will give you a $50 ticket? And if $50 doesn’t work the first time, why would a $75 fine dissuade you the next time?
I understand why other pedestrians and drivers find it annoying when someone is walking and texting, but is there really evidence that it’s a significant safety problem? Are pedestrians regularly walking off curbs and crossing on red lights? Or is it just that many of us find the behaviour irritating and wish someone would do something about it? Fines and penalties seem to have done very little to discourage drivers from using their smartphones. Why would it be any different for pedestrians?