Walkers who text land in a fine mess
Pedestrians in an American town are being fined if caught writing text messages on their mobile phones while walking in the street.
Thomas Ripoli, the police chief of Fort Lee, New Jersey, has told officers to issue fines of $85 (€66) to anyone they consider to be engaging in "dangerous walking", citing texting while crossing the road as a prime example.
He said he decided to act after noticing an increase in car accidents involving pedestrians.
More than 20 people have been hit by cars this year in the town with a population of about 35,000. Some were absorbed in a text message or phone call when the accident happened. One person was killed while using a mobile phone while crossing the road, Mr Ripoli said.
Mr Ripoli said: "It's not always the driver's fault. Pedestrians are not always aware; they're not watching where they are walking."
Since the start of the campaign in March, 117 people have been fined for "dangerous walking" although it is unclear exactly how many were texting when fined.
Mr Ripoli said texting while walking would not be outlawed completely, but people caught crossing a street while texting could expect to be given a ticket. (© Daily Telegraph, London)