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Bills in Albany aim to outlaw using a phone while crossing the street

Posted at 4:50 AM, May 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-16 19:41:12-04

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — There's a new push in Albany to make using your phone while walking illegal in New York State.

This week, New York State Senator John Liu (D - Queens) introduced a bill that would prohibit a pedestrian from using a portable electronic device while crossing a roadway. Fines could range from $50 to $150 depending on the number of offenses.

This compliments a bill that was already introduced in the New York State Assembly earlier this year.

Both bills are in the transportation committees of both houses.

Similar laws have passed in smaller cities in Hawaii and California.

Today at the intersection of W Chippewa Street an Delaware Avenue many people were using their phones as they walked into the crosswalk.

"Just because you are in a cross walk doesn't mean you are immune to a car possibly hitting you," Lindsay Kensy, Communications specialist for AAA said.

According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, emergency room visits from phone use spiked almost 83.6 in 2016. The Governors Highway Safety Association found that nearly 6,000 pedestrians nationwide were stuck and killed by motor vehicles in 2017.