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Legislators consider digital distractions

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New York Times

A New York Times story discusses efforts to restrict the use of cell phones, iPods and other electronic devices, not only while driving, but while jogging or walking.
“The ubiquity of interactive devices has propelled the science of distraction — and now efforts to legislate against it — out of the car and into the exercise routine,” the Times reports.

“In California, State Senator Joe Simitian, who led a successful fight to ban motorists from sending text messages and using hand-held phones, has reintroduced a bill that failed last year to fine bicyclists $20 for similar multitasking.”

In other states, legislators have introduced bills to restrict pedestrians and joggers from using cell phones or iPods. Simitian is not proposing similar legislation.

In the Times story, Simitian says “At some point you do have to simply rely on the good judgment of folks as they go through their daily lives.”

“Is there a problem out there with distracted pedestrians? I’d be the first to acknowledge it,” he said. But, he added, “It’s appropriate to distinguish between 4,000 pounds of steel and glass coming at you and a pedestrian who may well put themselves at risk but probably poses less of a risk to the general public.”

View the full story (New York Times)