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Nanny State targets cell phone use on sidewalk

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Opinion Zone,Mitchell Blatt

How many people per year die because of talking on the cell phone or listening to music while crossing the street? Lawmakers in Arkansas and New York don't know, but they think its a problem nonetheless. Both state legislatures are considering bills to regulate the use of cell phones and portable music devices on roads and sidewalks.

The Arkansas proposal would ban pedestrians, runners, and cyclists from wearing headphones in both ears, and the New York proposal would ban the use of electronic devices while crossing the street.

New York State Sen. Carl Kruger (D) would have people walk down the sidewalk to an intersection listening to their iPod, stop at the intersection, pause their music (because they can't see the crosswalk sign with headphones covering their ears), cross the street and turn their music back on.  (Would they have to take their headphones out after pausing their music?)

Has anyone ever done a study to see how many pedestrians are hurt because they are listening to music while crossing the street?  I've seen crazy people run across the street in Denver, CO, but not because they are listening to music; just because they are too impatient to go to a crosswalk and wait.

How times have people gone for a jog listening to music and not gotten hurt, because they stopped at intersections and waited until it was safe to cross? How many times have people walked down the sidewalk talking on the phone and then decided to stop because there was a street up ahead with traffic? Once again, politicians are trying to solve a non-existant problem.

I'm sure big government can point to one or two examples of someone who doesn't know what a lighted red hand means on a crosswalk sign. Sure, they can also point to one example of someone who fell into a fountain while texting-and-walking. Do we now need security guarding every fountain to make sure no one walks into it?

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