woman textingRemember the lady who walked off the pier, because she was so distracted by walking and texting? Yup, she had to be rescued from the choppy waters of Lake Michigan and soon became nationwide news. So ridiculous! Unfortunately, we all know that lady is not alone in her idiocy. Plenty of people continue to take to the streets while staring down at their smartphones, putting both their own and drivers' lives at risk.

So some authorities have had enough and are cracking down -- by ticketing texting walkers! Cops in Fort Lee, New Jersey (a highly trafficked town right by the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan) have been handing out $54 jaywalking tickets to 117 pedestrians who they've caught texting and jaywalking at the same time. And the police chief sounds pretty self-assured of his decision to keep it up.

He calls texting while walking "a big distraction. Pedestrians aren't watching where they are going, and they are not aware." And the move isn't just preemptive -- it's a reaction to a worrisome trend. Already three pedestrians have been killed this year in car accidents in the area. I'm pretty sure these incidents aren't unique to Fort Lee. They're a growing issue all across the country.

More from The Stir: New Cars That Read Texts Out Loud Could Save Your Life

A recent study even found that texters are 60 percent more likely to "veer cluelessly off their route" than non-texters, so obviously, they're more likely to get into danger. So why shouldn't they have to pay for their irresponsible behavior?

Of course I get how tempting it can be to start multi-tasking, scrolling through emails and texts as you're waiting at an intersection, but the minute the white pedestrian sign flashes and you head into the street, it's a whole new ballgame. Those who refuse to believe so and think they can somehow still be well aware of what's going on around them are being totally dense. They deserve to be slapped with a ticket for their infraction. It's not only in the public's best interest, but their own.

Here's the local news story out of Greater NYC ...

What's your take -- is a ticket for texting and walking going too far or perfectly legit?

 

Image via Jhaymesisviphotography/Flickr