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NY lawmaker wants to ban use of cell phones and iPods in crosswalks

Friday, February 09, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: cell phones, health news, Natural News


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(NewsTarget) New York state senator Carl Kruger announced on February 6 that he intends to introduce a bill that would ban people from using cellular phones, MP3 players or other wireless data devices such as Blackberrys, while crossing streets in Buffalo or New York City.

Three pedestrians in Kruger's district have been killed since September after stepping into traffic while distracted by such devices. In one case, bystanders allegedly shouted at the victim to "watch out," but were not heard.

"While people are tuning into their iPods and cell phones, they're tuning out the world around them," Kruger said.

The law would make using a banned device in a crosswalk punishable by a $100 fine, comparable to a jaywalking ticket.

Kruger has come under intense fire for the proposed law, with critics charging that he is interfering with freedom of choice. But the senator insists that he is motivated by public safety concerns, and that some devices are simply not appropriate in certain contexts.

"If you want to listen to your iPod, sit down and listen to it," he said. "You want to walk in the park, enjoy it. You want to jog around a jogging path, all the more power to you, but you should not be crossing streets and endangering yourself and the lives of others."

"I think it would make more sense to just ban stupid people from using crosswalks," joked consumer advocate Mike Adams. "The government can't jump in and legislate common sense."

"If you're blasting music in your ears and you fail to watch for cars, you simply become a candidate for the Darwin awards," Adams said. "People who don't use iPods also get hit in crosswalks on a regular basis. What will New York try to ban them from doing? Walking?"

New York City has previously banned using cell phones while driving and the use of trans fats as cooking ingredients in restaurants.

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