BOSTON (CBS) — Under a bill filed on Beacon Hill this week, penalties for jaywalkers would be increased if they are caught texting while crossing the street.
For violators of the law, which would need to be adopted by cities and towns, pedestrians who walk against the light or in areas not marked by a crosswalk would face fines of at least $25 and of up to $100 in the case of multiple offenses.
But if the violation happens while the person is using a mobile device or wearing earbuds or headphones, the penalties could be doubled.
According to the text of the bill, introduced by Rep. Colleen Garry of Dracut, “If the violation occurs while the person is using a mobile electronic device and/or wearing earbuds, headphones, or like devices, the penalties shall be increased to $50 for a first offense; $100 for second offense and $200 for a third or subsequent offenses.”
“Currently, it is a dollar for an offense.”
Pedestrians out in Boston had mixed opinions.
“I think a lot of people are very distracted when they walk in the streets and it’s very dangerous, myself included, I was just talking on the phone,” said one woman.
Another man said, “I would argue that I would like the police to be less paternalistic, I don’t want them to take care of me crossing the street.”
Others say while it is a good idea, in theory, it would be hard to enforce.
Some states have pushed for similar laws–and in Honolulu, such a law went into place a few weeks ago, making it illegal to look at a cell phone or other device while crossing the street.
Garry said the bottom line is that “We’re paying with insurance rates, we’re paying in hospital fees, we all pay when somebody gets injured. So it’s not just their own responsibility, they are not just paying the bill, we all are.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports