Big crime wave: Texting while walking

posted at 7:45 pm on July 30, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Even Shepherd Smith couldn’t contain himself during this segment. The latest in nanny-state pioneering comes from Illinois — no surprise — as Democratic state legislator Ken Dunkin has introduced a bill that would make texting while crossing the street a misdemeanor. Why? Dunkin explains that government exists to protect citizens from … themselves:

I can understand laws against texting or using hand-held cell phones while driving … but walking?  Should that not follow logically to banning reading, eating, talking with your friends, or gazing up at the sky while walking as well?

Dunkin at least gets points for honesty.  He rattles off the list of nanny-state laws that we’ve already accepted, so what’s one more?  If anyone wanted a clip to demonstrate the slippery slope of autocracy and authoritarianism, here it is.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

With California’s newest law it’s ILLEGAL to talk on a non hands free phone while driving. However, in their infinite wisdom, it is NOT ILLEGAL to text while driving

California….

originalpechanga on July 30, 2008 at 7:48 PM

Remember THIS ?

JetBoy on July 30, 2008 at 7:50 PM

I love how he cites Britain, and the pads they installed on lightpoles. Ooph. The term nanny-state is a really well coined one, so accurate.

Dr. Manhattan on July 30, 2008 at 7:52 PM

Legislation to “increase awareness”. Who do these people think they are.

If anyone wanted a clip to demonstrate the slippery slope of autocracy and authoritarianism, here it is.

Right on.

RushBaby on July 30, 2008 at 7:52 PM

those poles in britain are an advertising stunt, not done by the government. they were put up by a cell phone company and got a ton of free publicity.

lorien1973 on July 30, 2008 at 7:53 PM

test

Weight of Glory on July 30, 2008 at 7:54 PM

The Dunkin Donut needs to come to California. Our foolish “representatives” can out-nanny him seven ways from Sunday.

MrScribbler on July 30, 2008 at 7:54 PM

Should that not follow logically to banning reading, eating, talking with your friends, or gazing up at the sky while walking as well?

Oh, yeah, sure, and could we fine all those baseball players for scratching themselves and spitting, too?

/sarcasm off

My collie says:

The next the your know, there’ll be laws on the books that prohibit me from smelling my friends — and maybe even laws that make it illegal for me to lick myself.

CyberCipher on July 30, 2008 at 7:55 PM

We just need to get rid of the evil, CO2 belching vehicles, and the equally evil utility poles, the world will be safe for texters.

innominatus on July 30, 2008 at 7:55 PM

Should that not follow logically to banning reading, eating, talking with your friends, or gazing up at the sky while walking as well?

Ah … but the liberals have long since rid themselves of the onerous shackles of logic and common sense.

progressoverpeace on July 30, 2008 at 7:57 PM

I am that rarity — a conservative who works at a newspaper in Vermont — and I just placed a story for tomorrow’s paper from the AP that says an organization of ER doctors reports a dramatic increase in the number of people who have injured themselves while texting. The article cites a man who walked into a stop sign while texting, a girl who fell off a horse while texting, and another girl who burned herself by cooking while texting.

Sounds to me like doing idiotic things while texting is a pretty good way to cull the stupid. Don’t make it illegal! Give them medals! Or at least make them wear signs.

Stefka on July 30, 2008 at 7:57 PM

“Obama on my shoulder” … this guy has bought it.

ORrighty on July 30, 2008 at 7:57 PM

ORrighty on July 30, 2008 at 7:57 PM

Those automatic fine dispensers from Demolition Man are coming closer every day.

lorien1973 on July 30, 2008 at 7:58 PM

omg

trailortrash on July 30, 2008 at 8:00 PM

With California’s newest law it’s ILLEGAL to talk on a non hands free phone while driving. However, in their infinite wisdom, it is NOT ILLEGAL to text while driving

California….

originalpechanga on July 30, 2008 at 7:48 PM

I would say that’s just a result of being behind the curve when it comes to how popular texting is. However, it should be 100% illegal to talk on the cell-phone while driving. It might not be the equivalent of driving drunk because you can still put the phone down, but it is incredibly dangerous nonetheless. That has nothing to do with being a nanny-state, but keeping the roads safe.

jimmy the notable on July 30, 2008 at 8:02 PM

I would say that’s just a result of being behind the curve when it comes to how popular texting is. However, it should be 100% illegal to talk on the cell-phone while driving. It might not be the equivalent of driving drunk because you can still put the phone down, but it is incredibly dangerous nonetheless. That has nothing to do with being a nanny-state, but keeping the roads safe.

jimmy the notable on July 30, 2008 at 8:02 PM

Bzzzzt!!! Wrong. Talking on a hands free phone is just as dangerous as talking on a hand-held phone: not dangerous at all. Its not the device but the intensity of the conversation. One can have an accident talking to their passenger just as easily. So the KKKalifornia law is total bullsh!t. Just another was to raise money for this financially (and morally) bankrupt state.

Andy in Agoura Hills on July 30, 2008 at 8:07 PM

Text Message Herr CellPhoneNazi’s

Halt,and vhere do you zhink your going,
I hopenzee you have realized that crossing
zee streetenzee is against zee law,while
you textenzee!

Zee penalty for zee text messaging,and
crossing her streetenez is deathenzee,
maybe herr next time you won’t be inz
such a hurry to talkenzee to herr
girlfriendenzee,yes!haha.

canopfor on July 30, 2008 at 8:08 PM

How do you think he pays for those fancy zoot suits? With $25 fines, of course!

chinotex on July 30, 2008 at 8:10 PM

Sometimes in the greater good,and in the interest of the
public safety,drastic measures need to be employeed!

I suggest,for the wellbeing of the public,that Liberals
should have a monitered cease and dissist order,or a
protection order,and should be inforced!

This protection order,is strictly to be enforced,so that
no further idiot lefty has the ability to come up with
this kind of stupidness!

Therefore,a Judge should issue,that no Liberal be allowed
to be 10 or 20 feet of themselves,that way,if the Liberal
is less than 20 feet near themselves,they have committed a
breach!

So,if Liberals can’t be allowed near themselves,idiot laws
won’t see the light of day,from these Democrat do-gooders!
(Snark!) haha :)

canopfor on July 30, 2008 at 8:20 PM

Bzzzzt!!! Wrong. Talking on a hands free phone is just as dangerous as talking on a hand-held phone: not dangerous at all. Its not the device but the intensity of the conversation. One can have an accident talking to their passenger just as easily. So the KKKalifornia law is total bullsh!t. Just another was to raise money for this financially (and morally) bankrupt state.

Andy in Agoura Hills on July 30, 2008 at 8:07 PM

What bogus study did you read that in? Cell phone driving is dangerous. I’m as small-government as anybody, but the government should have the right to pass laws to prevent dangerous behavior. I think hands-free is just as dangerous and I long for a time before cell phones. The reason talking to a passenger isn’t as dangerous is because they are in the car with you. Let me know the next time the guy on the other end of the phone can warn you about an impending accident, because passengers can serve as a second set of eyes.

jimmy the notable on July 30, 2008 at 8:21 PM

Its not the device but the intensity of the conversation. One can have an accident talking to their passenger just as easily. So the KKKalifornia law is total bullsh!t. Just another was to raise money for this financially (and morally) bankrupt state.

Andy in Agoura Hills on July 30, 2008 at 8:07 PM

Wrong. The biggest distraction is either digging out the cell and pushing the answer button or actually attempting to dial the phone WHILE DRIVING. I’ve watched my cousin drift a full lane over while operating his cell, yet once the call is made, it’s back to the straight and narrow.

How in the hell California missed not allowing texting while driving is the dumbest thing the nanny state has passed in a long time.

Rovin on July 30, 2008 at 8:21 PM

Dunkin explains that government exists to protect citizens from … themselves:

Well then this law would be a bust. Whatever benefit there is in banning texting would be eaten up with the mental health from all the individuals that seem incapable of doing anything if it doesn’t involve their cell phone!

highhopes on July 30, 2008 at 8:22 PM

Next logical step in California in r/e hands free cell phone conversations? If it’s dangerous to speak with someone on a hands free device, it must be just as dangerous to converse with passengers as well. They’ll install microphones in the cars to make sure you are not speaking with your passengers, or (God forbid) talking to yourself!

Freakin’ morons.

Tim Zank on July 30, 2008 at 8:23 PM

After looking back at the previous comments, I am simply amazed that so many people will jump on the “blame the device” bandwagon. What the he** ever happened to personal responsibility? Morons get distracted while doing something that requires attention. You can veer a lane over scratching your nads or picking your nose or changing the radio station. Wake up people, you don’t need Uncle Sam to be your freakin’ mommy. This ain’t a “slippery slope” it’s an avalanche.

Tim Zank on July 30, 2008 at 8:29 PM

Although…What happens when a person driving-while-texting hits a pedestrian texting-while-walking?

JetBoy on July 30, 2008 at 8:30 PM

What if an illegal alien does this? 2 negatives make a positive, right?

SouthernGent on July 30, 2008 at 8:33 PM

While they’re at it they really should criminalize walking while chewing gum. Not only is it risky to walk and chew gum at the same time, it’s bad for your teeth, has empty calories, and it gets stuck to the bottom of your shoes.

Buy Danish on July 30, 2008 at 8:36 PM

Cool, then a few months after it passes, AP, you can post on the first police brutality of texter-while-walking story.

Dusty on July 30, 2008 at 8:37 PM

Slow Liberal incrementalization,that starts
off so innocent,then piff,(stares at ceiling,
*rolls eyes*)how in the h#ll did it come to this!:)

canopfor on July 30, 2008 at 8:37 PM

criminalize walking and chewing gum..

Buy Danish on July 30,2008 at 8:30PM.

Buy Danish:Hear,hear, Danish,I also agree,and the
gilloteen should be utilized as a non
repeat assurance of this kind of dispicable,
horrendous, and disgusting habit,gum chewing!
hahahaha. :)

canopfor on July 30, 2008 at 8:46 PM

Next up?

Thought crime.

Rhinoboy on July 30, 2008 at 8:54 PM

I could care less if they get themselves run over. Thin the herd.

But if I’m in a crowd of people crossing the street, and some moron coming toward us crashes into me because he can’t be bothered to look up from his oh-so-important text, I reserve the right to punch him in the mouth. We can make that part legal, right?

Tanya on July 30, 2008 at 9:02 PM

walking while texting, wounds! LMAO!

Chakra Hammer on July 30, 2008 at 9:04 PM

Yet another good argument for part-time legislatures: the full-time ones can do too much damage.

(Looks north to Sacramento…)

irishspy on July 30, 2008 at 9:05 PM

“After looking back at the previous comments, I am simply amazed that so many people will jump on the “blame the device” bandwagon. What the he** ever happened to personal responsibility?”

I use a motorcycle 9-10 months out of 12, in Wisconsin. I use very good protective gear. I have oodles of rider education.

I’m more scared of cell phone users than drunks. I’m not typically riding at 2:00 am when the drunks come home.

Any type of phone the people are distracted. The greatest offenders are the businessmen who won’t give up ten minutes of their time to pull over. Their calls require 100% concentration.

Next comes anybody with a hand-held phone. No peripheral vision. No signaling. Complete distraction while dialing or answering. 10-100% distraction while talking.

Ban these a-holes who are so inconsiderate as to think their silly conversation is more important than their fellow travelers.

Or make it legal for me to put a .45 hardball through their rear window to wake them up. It won’t be any more dangerous to them than their sharing the road with me is to me.

hpnq420 on July 30, 2008 at 9:20 PM

[irishspy on July 30, 2008 at 9:05 PM]

LOL. (Looks east to Albany …)

Dusty on July 30, 2008 at 9:21 PM

I agree w/ Shep, but you don’t invite someone on to your show to berate him unless you give him a chance to defend himself w/o interruption. $25 fine for Shep.

jgapinoy on July 30, 2008 at 9:25 PM

canopfor on July 30, 2008 at 8:08 PM

Have you been watching Hogan’s Heroes again? Dude.

hillbillyjim on July 30, 2008 at 9:32 PM

hpnq420 on July 30, 2008 at 9:20 PM

You missed the point. How many times have you seen a driver distracted eating a big mac, drying their hair, fumbling for cd’s, talking to kids in the backseat, the list goes on and on and I’m merely pointing out you can’t ban every damn thing. We can’t be protected from everything all the time.

Tim Zank on July 30, 2008 at 9:53 PM

Have you been watching Hogans Heroes again?Dude.

hillbillyjim on July 30,2008 at 9:32PM.

hillbillyjim:You are correctenzee,haha!

I loved when Rush played the smoking
Nazi parody’s on his radio program
way back when!

And like Sargeant Shultz,I zee nothings!

And probably too much,Das Boot!haha :)

canopfor on July 30, 2008 at 9:57 PM

hpnq420 on July 30, 2008 at 9:20 PM

Exactly. This is well said. This is exactly why cell phone driving should be illegal.

Tim Zank on July 30, 2008 at 9:53 PM

This is an idiotic statement. It more argues for banning other things than saying we shouldn’t ban cell phone driving. I’m assuming you are a cell phone driver and don’t get how dangerous it is. I drive a car and don’t talk on a cell phone and I hate cell phone drivers. It is more dangerous than any of the things you listed and always more prevalent. you can drive down any road and see people talking on their cell phones. If you looked at accident statistics, a huge number of them are caused by people distracted by cell phones. If it comes to the point where every other person on the road is so distracted by eating a hamburger that accidents are as prevalent as cell phone accidents, then yes, we should ban that too. A motor vehicle is a dangerous piece of machinery. It is not a toy and motor vehicle accidents should not be taken lightly. Real people die. it isn’t some “let’s call polar bears endangered because of global warming” bullshit. Real people die every single day because of cell phone drivers. It is a REAL problem. It isn’t about “personal responsibility” because tons of people on the road are completely moronic and if they kill me because they couldn’t put down their cell phone, that’s not cool and when I go out onto a road that is public property and expect it to be policed in such a way that I can feel reasonably safe (no, I can’t feel 100% safe, but when there’s somebody out there speeding and their perception is equal to that of someone driving drunk and there’s nothing illegal about that), and I find out that somebody blocked a law preventing something that absolutely should be illegal because they think it is their “right” to distract themselves while driving a dangerous deadly weapon, that pisses me off.

jimmy the notable on July 30, 2008 at 10:12 PM

Even Shepherd Smith couldn’t contain himself during this segment.

Does he ever? BTW, anyone else notice his new pronunciation of Pahkistahn? He slipped this afternoon and used both pronunciations in one paragraph. It was rather amusing.

Connie on July 30, 2008 at 10:14 PM

It’s Shepard Smith, Ed. Just for future reference.

Connie on July 30, 2008 at 10:17 PM

jimmy the notable on July 30, 2008 at 8:21 PM

By that reasoning, it would be safe to talk on the cell phone while driving if you have a passenger in the car with you to act as another set of eyes.

mikeyboss on July 30, 2008 at 10:20 PM

mikeyboss on July 30, 2008 at 10:20 PM

I think it would be safer than talking on the cell phone by yourself, yes, but still much less safe than driving without a cell phone at all, passengers or not.

jimmy the notable on July 30, 2008 at 10:23 PM

I think it would be safer than talking on the cell phone by yourself, yes, but still much less safe than driving without a cell phone at all, passengers or not.

jimmy the notable on July 30, 2008 at 10:23 PM

I think you’re right, and in all honesty I am among the guilty ones. But I plan to use this post and conversation as motivation to cut it out.

mikeyboss on July 30, 2008 at 10:26 PM

Is this illegal like go-to-jail illegal or is this a joke, as in, you know, entering-this-country-illegally illegal?

redzap on July 30, 2008 at 10:33 PM

It becomes a felony if done while eating foie gras

dm60462 on July 30, 2008 at 11:24 PM

With California’s newest law it’s ILLEGAL to talk on a non hands free phone while driving. However, in their infinite wisdom, it is NOT ILLEGAL to text while driving

California….

originalpechanga on July 30, 2008 at 7:48 PM

Yup and I’ve watched two people texting while driving in just the last 2 days. Although the number of people I’ve seen reading while driving is much higher. But probably because texting is only just catching on here. Overseas, texting dwarfs (can I say that?) texting here.

Just another was way to raise money for this financially (and morally) bankrupt state.

Andy in Agoura Hills on July 30, 2008 at 8:07 PM

Bingo.

TheCulturalist on July 30, 2008 at 11:54 PM

Are the injuries higher in cell phone users than the average person that’s run over?

- The Cat

P.S. Technophobes

MirCat on July 31, 2008 at 2:11 AM

Shep: “I think your intentions are great.”

Hell no they’re not! They’re the worst kind of political intentions: the intention to “improve” humans against their will.

Mark Jaquith on July 31, 2008 at 2:57 AM

This seems to me to be like jaywalking laws, for which I can see one strong defense: if a texter, head down, oblivious to traffic lights, traffic noises, and horns, walks in front of my car and I can’t stop in time, he can’t take me to court for it and tie me up there for five years because his action was illegal and any consequences were his own damned fault.

In the absence of tort reform, this doesn’t look so bad.

It happened to a friend of mine years ago; the perp was not texting but jogging under a Walkman. Fortunately, he was still wearing it when they got him to the emergency room.

njcommuter on July 31, 2008 at 3:00 AM

I was driving thru Pittsburgh to get to the airport a few years ago. There were detours, road work, traffic everywhere. My cell rang 3 times, calls from the same person who knew I was on the road, and I was pissed! No way was I going to answer…I needed to pay attention to where I was going!!

I agree there should be a law against testing while driving…but walking? No way..you cant ticket someone for being a moron.

btw…the police have there hands full with all the shootings and murders in Chicago. They dont need to chase after walking testers. sheesh

becki51758 on July 31, 2008 at 7:55 AM

Dunkin explains that government exists to protect citizens from … themselves:

Dunkin knows nothing about our system of government. It’s governments job to write laws that prevent one person from harming another, it’s explicitly NOT governments job to protect people from themselves. This is exactly the kind of thinking that allows government to control every aspect of your life. Americans have a right to privacy and a right to be left alone and Dunkin should not have the position he has if he doesn’t understand that, and of course he does not.

Maxx on July 31, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Can Dunkin come to my house and wipe my ass, I might cut myself with the toilet paper.

GarandFan on July 31, 2008 at 11:18 AM

After watching the video I noticed how Dunkin justifies this by tying it to collectivism. Of course collectivism is anathema to the American way of life, but Democrats constantly try to force it down our collective throats anyway.

So, Dunkin says people get injured so that’s the reason we need this law. My question is, exactly what activity can a person engage in that has no risk of injury? How ever short that list is, that is all you are going to be allowed to do after socialized medicine becomes the fact in America. At that point, the rights of the individual will mean nothing because you will be forced into a system where your every personal action impacts the collective. Thus, government will rule every aspect of your life.

And of course, socialized medicine will have all the love of the IRS and all the efficiency of Congress. The Democrats think of this as Heaven.

Maxx on July 31, 2008 at 11:29 AM

I wonder if there have been any studies of how many Americans have been involved in accidents while chewing gum. Americans on average consume nearly 2lbs of chewing gum per person per year. I would be willing to bet that at least half of the people appearing at emergency rooms with injuries were chewing gum at the time they were injured. We must stamp out this scourge and eliminate gum chewing. Imagine the billions of dollars that will be saved!

crosspatch on July 31, 2008 at 4:01 PM

Tim: “You missed the point. How many times have you seen a driver distracted eating a big mac, drying their hair, fumbling for cd’s, talking to kids in the backseat, the list goes on and on and I’m merely pointing out you can’t ban every damn thing. We can’t be protected from everything all the time.”

I agree with the latter. But, in my experience, there are at least 20 times more drivers driving distracted by cell phones than any other item. And, they are distracted for much long periods of time.

We don’t necessarily need a new law. The AG could simply say, “Talking on a cell phone while driving is inattentive driving, and I expect citations to be written for it. The only defense is calling in emergencies.”

It really seems the only people that don’t want something done are the cell phone talkers. They all think they aren’t distracted. They are.

hpnq420 on August 1, 2008 at 10:40 PM