Bill A3503, which is not yet viewable on New Jersey’s legislative website, is a bill that would fine pedestrians $50 for texting while walking in a crosswalk. The bill also says that in addition to the fine, “offenders” could face up to 15 days in jail. The bill is sponsored by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-6).
Pedestrians should indeed be more aware of traffic while walking, and the human race does need to learn to put the damn phone down. But, motorists also need to be held accountable for pedestrians having the right-of-way, especially while in a crosswalk.
Now, let’s talk about these potential 15 days in jail. The national political conversation, especially from Democratic candidates, is heavily focused on the fact that we have the highest number of incarcerated people in the industrialized world. Let’s not forget that President Obama has made significant strides to free people from jail who committed non-violent crimes. Of course, this is brand new to all of us, but I’m willing to assume that texting while walking in a crosswalk would be considered a non-violent crime. Yes?
Even though I doubt a jail sentence would ever come to fruition, and even though 15 days is basically a short waste of everyone’s time and money, why are we creating more ways to send people to jail?
The “jailed for texting” component of this bill is absolutely too much, and Republican and Democratic citizens seem to agree across the board.
Brian K. Everett is a resident of LD-6, and fights for his community to be rid of the heroin and opioid epidemic it currently experiences.