Should Distracted Walking Be Illegal?

Hawaiian lawmakers want people to stop staring at their phones while crossing the street.

Image via Jan Vašek

Aren’t smartphones great? You can use them to look at Rihanna GIFs during meetings, bathroom breaks, flights across the country, walks through the urban metropolis in blissful ignorance of the surrounding vastness of human life, wherever! Unfortunately, the latter scenario can put you in the hospital.

In fact, more pedestrians are injured each year while using their phones than drivers, according to a 2013 study published in Accident Analysis & Prevention. There were 1,506 incidents in 2010. Yet while distracted driving laws exist across the United States—46 states ban texting while driving, 14 ban all handheld phone use—distracted walking remains largely unregulated.

Proposals to ban the use of electronics in intersections have failed on the state level in New York, Arkansas, and Utah. Only Fort Lee, New Jersey ($85 fine for texting while crossing the street), and Salt Lake City, Utah ($50 fine for talking on the phone, listening to headphones, or texting while crossing rail tracks), have successfully implemented distracted walking policies.

American officials have instead relied on public awareness marketing to promote more responsible walking, such as San Francisco’s billboards asking, “Do you want Beethoven to be the last thing you hear?,” Delaware’s zombie-themed “Don’t join the walking dead” campaign, and Philadelphia’s “e-lane” prank, which sarcastically designated sidewalk space for pedestrians glued to their phones.

Members of Hawaii’s House of Representatives hope to buck the trend. House Bill 2723, House Bill 2723, introduced in January, proposes to fine pedestrians $250 for crossing streets, roads, and highways while using a mobile electronic device. The House Committee on Transportation passed the bill last week, recommending it for review by the Judicial Committee. “It is just another measure to ensure the safety of our pedestrians,” State Representative Sharon Har told Hawaii News Now.

Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less