Should More Cities Make It Illegal to Text While Crossing the Street?

January 19, 2018
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Texting while driving is illegal in 47 states. But what about texting while walking? A 2013 study reported that more than 1,500 people in the U.S. ended up in hospitals for injuries resulting from walking with a mobile device.

Honolulu, Hawaii, recently passed a law making it illegal to text or look down at an electronic device while crossing the street. It is the first major U.S. city with a law like this. Do you think more places should adopt such a law? We asked readers. The majority of you said yes. Here are a few of the responses we received.

YES

Sally Eun Bine Park, 10, Paju, South Korea

Which is more important, texting or safety? If you are looking at your phone while walking, you might not see a car approach or traffic light turn red. Texting while walking can be dangerous, not only on the road but also in other places. For example, in China, one person drowned in a canal and another got her leg stuck in a drain, because both had their mind on their phone. We call people who look at their phone while walking “smartphone zombies.” We should make texting while crossing the street illegal in more cities so we see fewer zombies on the street and keep them alive as humans!

NO

Andrew Madigan, 9, Portland, Oregon

As humans, we are in charge of ourselves and can make our own decisions. I’m not saying it’s safe, but we don’t need the government to babysit us. If we want to learn to make smart decisions, the government needs to stop telling us what to do. After all, this is a free country. And police need a lot of time to catch real criminals.

YES

Madeline Grace Ortiz, 12, Palmer, Alaska

This law is a good idea—compare this protection with seat belts. If this law goes into effect all over the U.S., people will be upset. But is there really a way to please everyone? This would not be for fun. It would be for the benefit and safety of all Americans.

NO

Anjali Selvam, 11, Erie, Pennsylvania

People do many things that cause injury to themselves but are not illegal, such as riding motorcycles, jumping on trampolines, driving cars, swimming—the list goes on and on. People might get hurt from texting and walking if they’re not paying attention. But I still think they should have a choice.