February 7, 2007 9:29 AM PST

N.Y. lawmaker hopes to ban iPod use in crosswalks

A New York state senator has announced his plan to introduce legislation that would ban the use of electronic devices such as iPods, BlackBerrys and cell phones while crossing streets in major cities.

State Sen. Carl Krueger, a Democrat who represents New York's 27th district in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, claimed that the phenomenon of "iPod oblivion" has led to a number of fatal accidents on urban streets. While he did not cite any statistical studies that have indicated a rise in such incidents, he referred to the January death of a 23-year-old Brooklyn man who, tuned into his iPod headphones, walked into the path of a city bus.

The bill would effectively make it illegal to use any kind of portable electronic device--a music or video player, cell phone, smart phone, gaming device, etc.--while crossing the street in cities such as New York, Albany and Buffalo. Offenders would be slapped with a $100 fine and a criminal court summons. Joggers and bicyclists would have to limit their iPod use to city parks in which no street crossing would be involved.

"You can't be fully aware of your surroundings if you're fiddling with a BlackBerry, dialing a phone number, playing Super Mario Brothers on a Game Boy, or listening to music on an iPod," Krueger said in a statement. He added that while police in other major cities--such as San Diego, Calif.--have warned that tuning in to portable electronic devices may leave pedestrians vulnerable to threats from pickpockets and muggers, he believes the real threat is from road traffic.

The popularity of iPods and BlackBerrys has emerged over only the past five years, but handheld devices are by no means newcomers to city streets. The concept for Sony's Walkman was patented in 1977, a full three decades ago. Nintendo's original Game Boy is only two years away from its 20th birthday. And portable radios have been around for even longer.

Not only will music fans likely complain about an iPod ban, but in New York City, Wall Street's notorious BlackBerry addicts may be loathe to put away their business tools when walking about the streets. But Krueger stands fully behind his new bill. "Tuning in and tuning out can be a fatal combination on the streets of New York," he said.

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48 comments

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Maybe cars not watching out for people should be illegal instead
Maybe the senator would like to make it illegal to be deaf, old, or a child as well?
Posted by battlefella (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes of course
drivers playing video games, surfing the 'net or talking on cell phones might share a bit of the blame..

but generally you have to be a complete moron to step into a street without looking.

Usually when the suicidally inclined Crackberry owner does this sort of thing, the driver has absolutely no opportunity to stop.

Still a law seems completely unnecessary, as the punishment already meeted out by the car owner is more than sufficient.

Deliberately making yourself "deaf" by listening to music or playing with a phone is hardly the same thing as actually being deaf or blind.

I have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for the type of retard that kills themselves in this manner. Rather I think of the poor bast@rd driver, that has to live with what has happened for the rest of their lives, all because some selfish tw@t with a PSP thought that finishing a level was more important than looking where they were going on a busy street.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Link Flag
Dumb Law
We don't need any more socialist type laws to protect people from being stupid.
Posted by brianwolters (70 comments )
Reply Link Flag
dumb law
When will law makers focus on lowering taxes and getting a handle
on runaway spending instead of playing nanny for us? I'm sick and
tired of these nanny laws! If dopes are stupid enough to walk in
front of buses, too lazy to wear seat belts or so stupid that they will
pay $7 for a pack of smokes to help them die sooner, well maybe,
just maybe, we should leave them to it. In any case most folks
don't need the gov't to require specific safety behavior that is
patently obvious.
Posted by helivet333 (1 comment )
Link Flag
What?
Dumb law, yes. Socialist? That doesn't even make any sense!
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
What? No Party association mentioned?
Isn't it funny how when a Republican says/does something dumb the article would mention the fact that he is a republican at least 5 times, but when a Democrat says/does something dumb like this guy ... there is NO mention at that he is a Democrat ...
Posted by deltasoler (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
See the first sentence!
So did you skim over the very first sentence, or did they change the post after your comment?
Posted by hawtdog (3 comments )
Link Flag
This isn't Bill O'Reilly's show
<Tongue-in-Cheek>
The party affiliation was mentioned at the very top of the article. Aren't you glad this isn't BillO's show? He may have switch-labeled this guy a Republican just like Mark Foley, D-Florida!
</Tongue-in-Cheek>
Posted by vkri2 (56 comments )
Link Flag
survival of the fittiest
if you can't cross roads without being killed because you are
using an iPod or a Blackberry you are better off dead, than
protected by a law. What ever happened to natural laws, to
natural selection, to evolution? "Difficulties" and challenges are
part of our life for us to overcome them and stay fit. I would
hardly call an iPod a challenge but evidently it is to someone if
they need a law to save their life while using it and crossing
roads at the same time. Now the fact that such persons exists is
one thing, but that, in the name of their condition, all the others
should be punished, is just plain wrong. Lowering the bar of
living standards to the level of the lowest, worst, most retarded,
less agile, fattest, etc. members of our society would only
produce as a result to flatten, over time or even generations, the
entire society to lower and lower levels. Involution instead of
evolution. Is that what we are up for?
Posted by marco3964 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Whatever happened to the notion...
that pedestrians ALWAYS have the right-of-way. Maybe drivers
should pay a little more attention?

-- militant pedestrian
Posted by mathom--2008 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Not "ALWAYS"
Imagine you're driving down the left hand lane of a one way downtown street at a perfectly legal 30 mph. Parked at the curb before the crosswalk is a delivery van. As you approach the green light, you realize this could be trouble, maybe cover the brake in case somebody pops their head around the van to check for traffic. Instead, when you're about a car length from the intersection, some goob checking email on his phone walks right in front of you. Even with cat-like reflexes, your stopping distance is 45 feet. The goob is going to get hit and you did nothing wrong; he is completely at fault. That's the kind of thing this law is trying to address.

That being said, this law sounds like a pretty moronic idea. I would think that an existing code already covers this. I often wonder if lawmakers ever read current laws before proposing more.
Posted by johnrdupree (4 comments )
Link Flag
Responsibility vs. Nanny Society
The last time I looked, this was the United States of America. The vast majority of iPod, cell phone and PDA users are competent enough to be aware of their surroundings when using these devices.

It's the responsibility of the individual to keep the volume at a level where they can still hear the traffic around them, or to pay attention to the crosswalk lights. The government has better things to do.

How would this law even be enforced? Are they going to station iPod police on every street corner? Install crosswalk cameras to take pictures of people and compare them to their MySpace and Flickr profiles to send them a ticket by email or SMS?

Enough of the nanny society!
Posted by dm717 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Ban the knife
There are 1 million ways to hurt yourself using a knife. So, let's ban using the knife altogether. Tomorrow, we will be using our hand to tear off meat, peel fruits, etc.
Posted by Pixelslave (101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Way Too Much Time On His Hands
I just love when I read about government attempting to pass laws that protect us from ourselves?but unfortunately, every time such laws pass, another of our freedoms is lost.
Posted by Equality2850 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bad drivers are the problem
It used to be back in the day when a driver hit a pedestrian it was the driver's fault. Now they want the cops busy chasing people down the street listening to a walkman? Why is the senator not blaming the driver for running someone over? Yeah, he wanted the easy way of making some publicity for himself.
Posted by aspexil (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Argument holds no water
Seeing that we neither know the state of mind of the pedestrian
killed, nor the reality that a CITY BUS CANNOT STOP ON A DIME,
we can only conclude that we cannot argue against the bus
driver at all. If the bus driver has the light, and is driving down a
normal street, WHY would they either be driving at 2 mph, or
stopping at every intersection, regardless of the state of the
lights?

I lived in New York for 17 years, and was just out there in
December. Granted, some of those city buses definitely do drive
too fast, but again, we don't know the circumstances.

That said, citing one case of pedestrian negligence does make
make a case for a bill of this type. Can you imagine, getting
directions via phone, live while trying to get somewhere when
lost, and being told to hang up at every intersection, and being
handed a ticket for $100 and a summons? That's patently
preposterous.
Posted by ronjay (109 comments )
Link Flag
How's that work?
Call me a little too "practical" here... How do you enforce a "no walking while jamming" regulation? If you "pull me over" and I give you a false name or address since they haven't gotten around to issuing "walking licenses" What Are You Going to Do?

Besides the argument that cops have better things to do... doing nothing is better than apprehending someone for "strolling while singing." Or, "displaying exuberant enjoyment" - that could be a crime.
Posted by phillynets (73 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Stupid
Waste of time..what an idiot!
Posted by kvatzigen (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Legislating personal choice
If someone wants to be careless and take their life into their own hands by listening to an iPod walking the streets-so be it. We cannot pass a law to try to pre-empt every single action of free individuals. Frankly, it is better for a few a pass away, than for freedom to be robbed of the masses. What next? What about people who are hard-of-hearing or deaf (like myself(; are we about to be banned from crossing the street because we cannot hear traffic?
Posted by damalame (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
How do you tell a legislator jerk he is a jerk..
? Oh. I already did, didn't I.

I'm from Phoenix and we have our share of them here. In the city council and in the state legislature. Must be a virus: LBJS (Leaders Become Jerks Syndrome). Once sworn in it takes affect immediately.

<ribbit>
Posted by chiefhopper (4 comments )
Link Flag
Why do we try to outlaw Darwinism
Darwin's Theory of Evolution (even for the religious sect that does not believe in it) has worked for 1000's of years - why does yet another lawmaker want to interfere?
Posted by mghicas (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Call to action, New Yorkers!
Fellow New Yorkers, we have been called to action! Let's give Senator Kruger some company on his daily excursions about the city. Be sure to keep your video cell phones at the ready! Hmmm, I wonder... does Senator Kruger always wait for that darned crosswalk light to blink "walk." Would Senator Kruger's busy schedule force him to cut corners, literally, to ... GASP ... jaywalk?! Alas, should such lawbreaking committed by an elected official be captured on video, well, I think as law abiding citizens it's our duty to promptly post such horrendous illegalities committed by Senator Kruger on YouTube. Poor Senator Kruger, his travels around the city are... about... to... slowwww... downnnn...
Posted by fredfass (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Wouldn't
evolution take care of this problem for us?

Eventually the type of idiot that walks onto busy roads without looking, while talking on cell phones or playing games will be removed from the gene pool.

On the other hand Crackberries and iPods should be placed on the scheduled drug list. I hold their suicidally inclined owners blameless in this. Clearly some force has taken over their wills and nothing but extended rehab and a clean break will help them rejoin humanity.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Offensive
Safer streets is the solution. Big Brother cannot legislate how I spend my time when I am walking around as a free citizen in a free society. I guarantee that the good Senator drives a car and stays quite far away from publicly used sidewalks that his constituents use as their daily commute. I also guarantee that he uses his radio/CD/MP3, cellphone and drinks coffee and/or smokes cigarettes, or otherwise multi-tasks freely, while he is driving. He is delusional or otherwise deluided if he thinks this won't be fought against fiercely. What a joke!
Posted by taomander (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
walkman
The walkman came out in the 80's right? I want to know if anyone got hit back then.
Posted by randyc3 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Stop the insanity, PLEASE!
First of all, as people, we need to keep the use of our toys to a minimum.

With under the influence alcohol and drugs being already being crimes of impairments, it isn't all that far off of being just as impaired with items such as a cell phone or some music box.

We do not need any new laws but lets just add to the older alcohol/drug impairment laws. Convictions then would make it a requireements for all the cell phone and music box abusers to abstain from their behavior.
Posted by RShea78 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
reactions...
Ah yes, looks like it really offended the Libertarian crowd in the C|Net readeship.
Posted by batavier (66 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is like a no spitting law...
only black people are going to be cited for jay-poding.

A city in upstate NY enacted a no spitting in public ordinance. It turns out 5 of the 6 people cited were black. Bummer...
Posted by R.Jefferson (136 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How about Talking?
Lets ban that... lets all walk in a straight line like a bunch of lemmings with our mouths shut. HEY Carl Krueger NO SOUP FOR YOU... ONE YEAR... New Yorkers don't play those reindeer games.
Posted by rurth24 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Car Drivers
Car drivers should be more responsible and aware on the "city" road than pedestrians and cyclists.
Posted by handshop (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Car Drivers
Car drivers should be more responsible and aware on the "city" road than pedestrians and cyclists.
Posted by handshop (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You guys don't get it.
It is about legal responsibility and law suits. If some dwesil jumps out and gets smacked by your car while you are driving, you will be held with less responsibility if you can show he or she was breaking this law, and you were doing nothing wrong.

call it 80/20 vs 50/50
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Already exists
Already exists..it's called jaywalking.
Posted by subgenius83 (1 comment )
Link Flag
What's next, ban on deaf people?
How can law makers punish the many for the results of the few? I mean do we really need to ban people listening to something when the cross the street? Does this mean that they will fine you if you are talking while crossing the street? What if you are deaf? I know we should all hold hands, walk in a single file line and not talk when we cross the street. This is crazy! I personally believe that living in a free country means that I can walk down the street and tune everything around me out.
Posted by rednecktube.com (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think you missed the point.
Problem is out of hand with many people focusing on their toys to the point, if they would walk into you and they probably could care less.

Some time back rarely ever got bumped walking on the sidewalk. Now I get bounced and elbowed around so much, I feel like inserting their cell phone or their mp3 player right up their anus.

BTW, the deaf people I know are very well alert of their surroundings. Unlike some idiot that really needs 220 volts ran through their eardrums for some wake up call to put their toys away.

I have to applaud the Senator for this toy (cell phones / mp3 players) legislation of which needs passed like pronto.
Posted by RShea78 (9 comments )
Link Flag
 

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