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Question of the day

Thursday, Jul 31, 2008

* The setup

…some state officials, including Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, have spoken out in support of a new bill that would ban using a wireless device while crossing streets. […]

The Illinois General Assembly bill, also known as HB 4520, was introduced in January by Rep. Ken Dunkin (D- Chicago), who then insisted: “This legislation is not laughable. On the surface it’s like, ‘Oh wow, what is this?’ But it’s becoming more and more of a common problem with people haplessly crossing an intersection and almost killing themselves.”

Under the proposed law, Illinois residents would get slapped with a misdemeanor and a $25 fine if caught using a cell phone or other wireless device while traversing streets.

* The question: Do you support or oppose this proposed texting while walking ban? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Dan S, a voter and Cubs Fan - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:08 am:

    This is ridiculous, you cannot legislate away stupidity. Thin the herd.

  2. - Jechislo - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:14 am:

    I think the bill should be amended to force everyone between the ages of 1 and 109 to ‘possess common sense’. Those found in violation of the new law would be permanently banished to South of I-80. This would successfully accomplish the near emptying of Chicago/Cook County and reapportion the population of Illinois.

  3. - Duh? - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:14 am:

    Come on, can we walk and chew gum legally?

  4. - John Bambenek - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:15 am:

    Aren’t those who text while walking AND lose all sense of their surroundings a self-correcting problem?

  5. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:15 am:

    I support the ban, but not for Durkin’s reason. There should be no enforcement. However, the law should prohibit it, so if anybody is hit or causes an accident, it will clearly be THEIR fault and they won’t be able to sue anybody. The lawsuit will be against them, and since they violated the law, they will and should lose. (Right now, they could claim that they weren’t doing anything “wrong.”). So - ban it, but don’t enforce it.

  6. - Porter - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:17 am:

    I had a lengthier response in mind, but then I thought it would be easier to say that this is just more stupid government intrustion into another facet of our daily lives.

  7. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:18 am:

    Yet another “look at me, I’m doing this to help people” bit of falderal.

    Taxation at record levels, spending a record levels, insider benefiting like never before, programs that work are being cut in favor of insider deals…..

    But wait!…. we will make texting while walking a crime. Will we now begin to boot pedestrians who are late in paying the fines? If so, what kind of boot will be used? :’)

    The herd that needs culling is amongst the legislators.

  8. - the Other Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:18 am:

    Anyone who has spent even a few minutes in downtown Chicago knows that such a ban would never be enforced. If you’re really concerned about pedestrian safety, try enforcing the ban on jaywalking first.

  9. - Greg - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:18 am:

    Oppose. If hapless people want to “almost kill themselves,” let’s not stand in their way.

  10. - archpundit - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:22 am:

    The Darwin Awards always need new victims….err candidates. Sort of like bicyclists riding the wrong way on the street–it’s a problem, but one the gene pool takes care of on its own.

  11. - North of I-80 - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:24 am:

    We can’t protect people from Death Due to their Own Stupidity. If anyone jay-walks/steps into the street when they shouldn’t… arrest them. Cross against walk light or out of crosswalk, ticket/arrest ‘em with what’s on the books already. Walking in the street in violation of any existing law ref pedestrian traffic, ticket ‘em.

  12. - Skeptic Cal - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:25 am:

    I support it for anyone in an intersection, which includes drivers of cars.
    In fact, it should be banned in ALL public places a public nuisance and should be done only in private offices or homes.

  13. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:25 am:

    Just because Jesse can’t figure out how all this new technology works doesn’t mean he should make it illegal. Heck Jesse, they even let the kids dance nowadays.

  14. - the Patriot - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:26 am:

    While I agree with the “thin the herd” concept, my problem is that when I wack one of these idiots with my car, I get sued because they were not paying attention. The legislation that needs to be passed is immunity for the driver. You want to be an idiot fine, but don’t sue me when your conduct gets you killed!

  15. - Fan of the Game - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:30 am:


    For all the reasons listed above.

  16. - Crafty Girl - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:36 am:

    For crying out loud, people either have common sense or they don’t. That’s not something you can legislate.

  17. - cashflowpro - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:38 am:

    Regarding enforcement: if they can use cameras to ticket drivers that run red lights, couldn’t they use the same cameras for illegal text crossing?

    About what they would use for a pedestrian “Denver boot”: isn’t that medieval device called the stocks?

  18. - Ghost - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:40 am:

    I have to agree with the Patriot on this one. Its all good and fine to make pithy comments about thinning the herd, but the relaity is these folks will just get injured when hit by a car, and will then sue the driver.

    Many commentors here have complained in the past about Il legal system. here is a bill to help tap down problems with PI suits. I would not make it a misdemenaor, I would say instead that somone who is texting while walking can not sue for any injury, such as stepping in a hole, tripping, being hit etc. They are free to text, but can not profit from their in attention.

    In IL they used to have the “open and obvious” doctorine which prohibited people from being able to sue for walking into posts, falling in holes etc that were out in the open. Then one day a shopper walks into a post while exiting a store with a mirror. The court decides to graft on an exception to open and obvious for conditions the property owner migh now would distract the person, such as carrying purchases out of the store. it will not be long before the texters say store owners, car drivers etc know the texters are distratced, so they have to protect the texters by removing all holes, trip hazrds, taking extra caution when driving around them etc. We need this to protect ourselves, not the texters.

  19. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:51 am:

    If we can enforce our laws enabling the visually impaired or physically challenged to cross our streets safely without blaming them on any traffic altercations which could occur, we should be able to enforce our laws to enable anyone to cross streets.

    This is stupid. It is being fixated on a new everyday device that few of us consider new anymore. Get over it and enjoy the 21st Century.

  20. - Steve - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:54 am:

    It’s a bad idea.The authoritarian personality is alive in Illinois government.

  21. - lifer - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:56 am:

    Maybe the herd needs to buy insurance to protect them from themselves. Oppose thin the herd and make the driver immune if they are using a wireless device.

  22. - Levois - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 10:57 am:

    Has anyone actually been run over while texting on their phone. I’m irritated by the texters and those who are on the cell while driving or even walking, but there’s no reason to make this illegal for our own good. People should learn a lesson when they have a close call.

  23. - zatoichi - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:00 am:

    Does the legislation include window shopping, reading a newspaper, day dreaming, talking to a friend, yelling for a cab, looking at window washers on the 10th floor, checking out who just walked by you, talking with big hand gestures, eating/drinking anything, checking your watch, scratching, or wearing big hats that block your vision? These are all wireless activities too.

  24. - Anonymous45 - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:02 am:

    Yes, I know a couple of ER physicians who are seeing more and more texters with serious injuries…or let’s ban cars from congested urban pedestrian crossings, they’re on cell phones and not paying attention as well…

  25. - Anon - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:02 am:

    Griffey, Griffey, Griffey, Griffey, Griffey …

  26. - Heartless Libertarian - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:02 am:

    Okay, I feel like I could cross a street and talk on the phone at the same time. Not a big deal, just have to pay more attention to the street than my conversation. Now, I am going to get a ticket. Stupid people are going to get hit by cars, I think cars are the problem here. I am telling you, they cause way more deaths than guns. Come on Chicago, you progressive city, where is the car ban?

  27. - Irish - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:04 am:

    Where is all of this going to end? Yes, electronic devices can be distracting and people don’t pay attention when they are focused on other tasks. But I have seen just as many erratic drivers, and walkers, who are eating as those on cell phones, or putting on makeup, or having a conversation with others, or correcting their kids, or yes even reading the paper. If a driver is erratic then they should be pulled over, for being erratic. I a walker walks out in front of traffic they are at fault, end of story.
    Apparently the only legislation that can be passed in Springfield or Chicago anymore is legislation that erodes the citizens rights. I find it laughable, albeit sad, that the smoking ban is causing revenues from the casinos to drop. How many times will this administration and legislature shoot themselves in the foot before they finally get a clue. They tie all kinds of taxes and tax supported programs to the sale of cigarettes, then ban them. They tout the great amounts of revenue that will come from gambling then cause the casinoes to lose business. They talk about the increases in the economy in areas of the state, bragging how their programs are working, then basically gut the budget of one of the reasons for this increase in the Peoria area. Give rides to seniors then cut the transportation budget that allows those free rides. Offer to send state police and national guard to chicago to quell the violance then shut down the programs that are helping get some of those folks off the streets. Does our gov have two personalities? Is it a case of who is going to show up today, Gov. Goofy or Dr. Hair ?

    P.S. Rich - good to have you back, enjoyed your article on the three headed monster. clever.

  28. - Velma - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:04 am:

    Oppose. Laws banning texting/talking on phone while driving are OK because odds are you’ll end up killing someone else due to your stupidity. But, as a pedistrian, you’re most likely to only get yourself killed/injured and end up a cannidate for the Darwin Awards.

    Personal responsibility should be the standard not more silly legislation.

  29. - Truthful James - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:12 am:

    Another example of the politicians feeding the people bread and circuses in trying to get reelected.

    There are so many laws not being enforced, many of which were mentioned above. This is another case which would inconvenience the police and the violator and thus would be politically unpalatable.

    Yet there are semi-humorous punishments which should be instantaneous.

    Jaywalking — confiscate one shoe, give a ticket for a $20 fine. Police would return the shoe (or destroy after 60 days) when picked up at some out of the way police station,

    Same thing for illegal use of the cell phone for talking or texting — confiscation, etc.

  30. - OfficeGirl - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:17 am:

    This makes me want to text and walk across streets more often. Actually I’m pretty good at it.

  31. - KP - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:25 am:

    as OfficeGirl gets hit by on oncoming car.

  32. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:28 am:

    What’s more interesting is that Ken Dunkin has always insisted that he’s Jesse White’s guy.

    The Dunkin voted with his new friend Gov. Blagojevich AGAINST restoring budget cuts to White’s office.

    Daley’s no fan of Dunkin, who’s criticized the Mayor quite publicly, and peppered Daley with questions when he met with the Black Caucus in Springfield this year.

    Dunkin also ran a nasty campaign against his own alderman, Dowell, for her committeeman’s seat.

    Dunkin’s not going to make it to 2011 if he keeps this up.

  33. - Ahem - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:34 am:

    Is there a law against crossing a street while drunk?

  34. - Captain Flume - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:35 am:

    There is sucha thing as too much communication. Maybe we should ban cell phones outright, or any kind of mobile communication device. If we kept only land lines, at least we would be more safely ensconced at our desks or in our homes, and we would know much more accurately where the person on the other end of the line actually is.

    We should also ban people who have been drinking alcohol from crossing the street, or from leaving the bar for that matter, without a sober and competent escort.

  35. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:35 am:

    Yes…public intoxication.

  36. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:36 am:

    I propose a walking ban, as it seems to only cause people to become injured or, (shudder) physically fit. At a local university, pedestrians have the right of way but there’s nothing more irritating than waiting for a coed who’s lol-ing to her BFF.

  37. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 12:32 pm:

    What about blogging while walking and crossing streets. I’m doing it right now from my I-Phone and don’t see what the

  38. - What planet is he from again? - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 1:05 pm:

    I heard a snippet from an interview this morning, and whoever it was said that in part the law is “to raise awareness of the problem.” Ok, fine, then raise awareness. Place TV/Radio/Newspaper PSAs, posters, “guerrilla” techniques (stage an “accident” somewhere and say, “See, this is what can happen!”) but a law is just stupid.

  39. - Ahem - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 1:08 pm:


  40. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 1:21 pm:

    ===Place TV/Radio/Newspaper PSAs===

    You forgetting something?

  41. - Justice - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 1:23 pm:

    Do not support it. Good grief…. you cannot legislate common sense. Instead of this bill, how about one that holds drivers harmless in the event a walking, biking, driving person who is also texting at the time, involves them in an accident.

  42. - Chanson - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 1:27 pm:

    I want a ban that bans all bans.

  43. - Pickles!! - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 1:35 pm:

    Another ridiculous, unenforcible law. How about a ban of talking while walking, or breathing….

  44. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 1:39 pm:

    Pickles, it may be ridiculous, but it’s enforceable. There’s a ton of cops on Chicago’s downtown street corners.

  45. - Jake from Elwood - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 1:52 pm:


  46. - Jake from Elwood - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 1:53 pm:

    Yeah, I’ve never texted before in my life.

  47. - What planet is he from again? - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 2:30 pm:

    ===Place TV/Radio/Newspaper PSAs===

    You forgetting something?

    Oh, that Internet thing is just a fad, no one uses it any more anyway. Especially blogs.

  48. - phocion - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 3:21 pm:

    Not surprising that Dunkin put his name behind another silly piece of legislation: This one should earn him another Century Club Award.

    The rules of the road are published by the Secretary of State. Those rules include yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks. It shouldn’t matter if the pedestrian is on her cell phone, texting, talking to someone, stopping to tie her shoe, giving her baby a bottle…whatever. Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk! And if they’re jaywalking, not paying attention and hit, the motorist generally will be in the right.

    Stop with unnecessary legislation. My ILCS volumes are bulging already.

  49. - PCC - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 4:12 pm:

    As usual, only one in 50 (well, 48) gets it right: congrats, phocion. Pedestrians have right of way in crosswalks, regardless of what they’re doing, and drivers are obligated to yield. The instant I step off the sidewalk and into a crosswalk, that’s the legal equivalent of a great big Red Light to the drivers on that road. (No one in Illinois seems to know this — though I’ve seen crosswalks elsewhere equipped with said great big red lights.) And if someone is distracted while jaywalking, well, they’re already breaking the law.

    I’m sure that Dunkin doesn’t even know this particular legal distinction.

  50. - A Citizen - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 5:10 pm:

    This law shall be known and may be cited as “The Gerald Ford Law”. What else need be said?

  51. - Captain America - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 5:23 pm:

    Ridiculous - you can’t and shouldn’t legislate common sense. Public education would be OK, but not legislation is necessary.

  52. - David - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 5:57 pm:

    I oppose the proposed ban. Let the leaders work on the real problems we have instead of making up nonsense issues to jerk around with. These people are obviously living in a different world.

  53. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 11:22 pm:

    A Citizen, that is an unwarranted cheap shot at a good man and a great American-who just happened to be a klutz.

    As one myself, klutz that is, AA has to stand up for our exalted members.

    How about “the Chevy Chase bill?” Less insulting and he could use the press pop.

    Actually, I hope phocion is right. Dunkin deserves another cluster on his Century Club ribbon.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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