Santa Maria - North County

California official wants to make "distracted walking" illegal

Using crosswalk on cell phone would be illegal

California official wants to make...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Texting and driving have proven to be dangerous and sometimes deadly.

Now a California official wants to take this law a step further. The law would make it illegal to use the crosswalk while using your cell phone.

"I do mostly a lot of walking, that's my exercise, I don't like running, so I walk," said tourist Brenda Brooks, but she adds, "... my cell phone stays in my pocket."

Brooks said sometimes if her phone rings, she'll stop walking and take the call, but not everyone who walks stops to safely make a call or text. 

While Brooks is concerned with personal freedoms being taken away, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa said he is more concerned more about public safety, "I mean, people can die looking at their cell phones," said San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa.

Canepa said pedestrian accidents currently cause one-quarter of all traffic fatalities and are increasing because people walking and talking pay too much attention to their screens rather than the street.   

So Canepa is asking for a new ban on "distracted walking."

That law would let police give citations to pedestrians who look down at their phones while in the crosswalk.  
 
"Whether it's looking at text messages, Facebook, Twitter that's what we're doing, so this is a 21st Century solution to a 21st Century problem," Canepa said. 
 
Some people in Santa Maria, support it.   

"I think it's absolutely a good thing for the drivers and the pedestrians crossing the street," Santa Maria resident Lynn Colangelo said. 

 


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