It would seem that the police in Philadelphia have a lot of spare time on their hands. Next month the City of Brotherly Love plans on launching a new program entitled “Give Respect, Get Respect,” that aims to curb what the city sees as bad behavior by motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. While some of the new laws make a lot of sense like giving tickets to cars that use the bike lane, the one that has left us scratching our heads is the one about people who walk in text.
Pedestrians may be reminded to be more aware of their surroundings; however, there are no citations issued by the PPD (Philadelphia Police Department) for texting while walking. If a Philadelphia police officer observes a driver, cyclist or pedestrian participating in any kind of potentially dangerous behavior, the officer will remind them to be careful.
Perhaps it is my uncoordinated nature, but I typically stop to reply to texts as opposed to walking, but that’s just me. I know I have seen people who do both at the same time, but is it really worth the time and effort of the police to stop people and go, “Hey, don’t text and walk.”? If they were issuing citations or something that would be one thing, but stopping pedestrians to just tell them what they’re doing is potentially dangerous isn’t going to fly so well. Yes, people will stop for an officer, but when they start hearing the text spiel, are they actually going to stick around? And our officers actually going to take time away from far more important tasks to tell people how texting and walking is dangerous? The statement says any potentially dangerous behavior, so what about people who listen to MP3 players as they walk? Can they hear all of the sounds of the city as they do so? I’ve seen people do some incredibly stupid things even while not dealing with distractions, so somehow I don’t think texting ranks that high up the list of problems.
Don’t get me wrong, texting and driving is a bad, bad mixture, but texting and walking, well, if you walk into a lamp post while doing it, at least the rest of us get a good chuckle.
What do you think about Philadelphia taking a dim view of texting while walking?