New Jersey town fines pedestrians for texting while walking

A small town of approximately 35,000 residents is now issuing jaywalking tickets to pedestrians who are texting while walking the streets.

“It’s a big distraction. Pedestrians aren’t watching where they’re going. They’re not aware,” Fort Lee, N.J. Police Department Chief Thomas Ripoli said during a Thursday news conference.

The fine for being caught texting while walking is $85 per infraction, and police said literature had already been distributed to the community informing them of the new law. So far in 2012 the community has seen more than 20 pedestrians hit by cars due to distracted walking.

The purpose of the tickets, according to Ripoli, is “to remind the pedestrians to be aware to not be on their cell phones texting.”

In April and May the town issued 117 tickets for texting while walking. In New Jersey it is also illegal to text or talk on a handheld cell phone while driving.

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