Travel and The Ban On Electronic Devices—-Is It Going Too Far?

First it was laptops on airplanes, then cell phones in cars. Now, a New York lawmaker wants to ban walkers and runners from traveling across city streets with another popular electronic device.

New York State Senator Carl Kruger wants to make traveling around the Empire State safer by creating a law that prohibits pedestrians from using “offending electronic devices” such as iPods, cell phones, and BlackBerries while they cross city streets. The proposed legislation (nicknamed the “iPod Bill”) includes sticking offenders with a $100 fine if they break the law. They would also be issued a criminal court summons and would be mandated to appear in court.

“We’re talking about people walking sort of tuned in and in the process of being tuned in, tuned out,” Kruger told a New York newspaper. “Tuned out to the world around them. They’re walking into speeding cars. They’re walking into buses. They’re walking into one another and it’s creating a number of fatalities that have been documented right here in the city.”

Not surprisingly, iPod and cell phone users in the Big Apple are less than thrilled with the senator’s proposal.

“If you start restricting people’s rights to listen to their iPods, then what comes next?” one New Yorker asked. Others maintained that it is ridiculous to introduce legislation regarding the issue of walking across the street wearing an iPod. After all, one iPod owner reasoned, “when you are walking across the street you are using your eyes not your ears.”

Well, I’m not sure about that… I can definitely see why pedestrians wouldn’t like the idea, however, I understand why it might be necessary.

In the meantime, Kruger remains stalwart in his support of the ban, despite becoming the target of hate mail.

“If you want to listen to your iPod, sit down and listen to it,” Kruger told local reporters. “You want to walk in the park, enjoy it. You want to jog around a jogging path, all the more power to you, but you should not be crossing streets and endangering yourself and the lives of others.”

To all of you readers in the other 49 states, don’t think the issue doesn’t concern to you. Kruger told reporters that if the law passes in New York he hopes other legislators will support similar bans in their own states.

What do you think about the proposed ban? Does it go too far?

Related Articles:

Good News For People Who Travel With iPods

Airplanes and Cellphones

Air Travel: Good News and Bad News

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.