Smart SpendingSmart Spending

$50 fine: Texting while walking

Small town in Idaho says if you text while crossing a street, you'll pay a fine.

By doubleace May 27, 2011 12:25PM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


Laws that forbid texting while driving are as common as a :) on your cellphone, but Rexburg, a small college town in southeastern Idaho, may be the first place to also ban texting while walking.


Officially, only texting while crossing a street is illegal. Which raises a question: If you are so engrossed in texting that you fail to notice that a bright-red 4,000-pound pickup is bearing down on you at 35 mph, how likely is it that you would realize you have left the sidewalk and entered the street?


OK, the real question is whether such a law is even needed. According to reports, there have been no accidents, just a few "close calls," in Rexburg, mostly near the campus of Brigham Young University-Idaho. 


While there is no data available on the dangers of texting while walking, a 2010 study by the Highway Loss Data Institute showed that texting-while-driving bans actually appear to increase the number of crashes.


"Texting bans haven't reduced crashes at all," Adrian Lund, president of the HLDI and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said in a news release. "In a perverse twist, crashes increased in three of the four states we studied after bans were enacted. Post continues after video. 

"If drivers were disregarding the bans, then the crash patterns should have remained steady," Lund said. "So clearly, drivers did respond to the bans somehow, and what they might have been doing was moving their phones down and out of sight when they texted, in recognition that what they were doing was illegal. This could exacerbate the risk of texting by taking drivers' eyes further from the road and for a longer time."


The idea behind the Rexburg law is not to punish those who are texting -- although there is a $50 fine for the first offense and $150 for subsequent violations -- but to enhance safety in the community, said those in favor of the ban. "If we can prevent someone from being killed, that's the intent," City Councilman Brad Egbert said.


However, Rexburg Standard Journal editorial writer Robert Patten saw the ban as a town vs. gown issue. BYU in Rexburg has 15,000 students, and 57% of the residents of the town of 27,000 are between 18 and 14 years old.


"We are especially worried that this may be a way for the city to target students," Patten wrote. "… this could become a way to bleed more money out of a part of the economy Rexburg depends on. … Squeezing more out of students may be a good way to fill city coffers, but it's wrong."


Still, BYU-Idaho students seem to see no problem with the new law.


"I think it's a good rule so we don't get hit by cars," said Logan Limb.


"I totally agree; I have a lot of friends that when they text, they cannot think," said Holli Loar.


"That would be hard for me because I'm addicted to texting," said Catherine Hecht. "But I think it's a legit rule. I may have to change some habits, but it's a good thing."


More on MSN Money:

May 28, 2011 4:10PM

Why am I not surprised that this is near a "school of higher learning".


I used to drive bus for the public transit line in my state, and I can't tell you HOW MANY of these "college students" I almost ran down: Jaywalking in front of my bus, expecting me to stop within 2 or 3 feet (40' bus, weighing 17 tons does NOT stop on a dime)...


You may be book smart, but your survival skills SUCK.

May 29, 2011 9:02AM

If peopel are supid enough to get killed because of texting, bad for them good for the gene pool.

We don't need a more laws that take away rights.


May 27, 2011 3:43PM

Unbelievable.  Again, we have government run amok.  Let a few die.  We don't need a law to regulate stupidity.  I hate all the laws that try to stop people from doing stupid stuff.  Let them die or whatever, I don't care.  We are way to over regulated anyway without more laws.  Get rid of seatbelt laws, let the market regulate it by allowing Insurance companies to NOT pay claims for those not wearing belts.  Then the burden is on you to wear a belt, if you don't and get in a wreck, you are screwed.  Get out of my life government.

May 28, 2011 8:47PM
You don't text while you're driving because you can die that way, you don't text while walking into and crossing the street because the person driving may not see you and then, again, you can die. It's a two-way street, though. The pedestrians should be paying attention to the drivers and vice-versa so vehicular manslaughters and such DON'T happen. 

This "no texting while walking" shouldn't even be a law--it's common sense!
May 28, 2011 4:28PM
Here in Phoenix the no texting while driving law was enacted a couple of years ago because of a fatal head on. It didn't do a bit of good,yo can be on I-17 any time of day and tell who is texting going down the road, way below the speed limit and all over the road. Do I text ? yes but not when I am behind the wheel.

Blast me if you want to,but when someone you care about is killed because of a text, you might change your mind.

May 28, 2011 5:26PM
ECTOGAMIT - YOUR AN IDIOT !!! There have been countless times I have almost been run off the road or hit head on by stupid idiots whoe are texting when they should have thier eyes on the damn road instead. YOU and anybody who thinks like you do that texting while driving is no big deal SHOULDNT BE DRIVING TO BEGIN WITH, because you think your TRIVIAL little conversation is moe important than somebody else's life SCREW YOU AND THAT IDEA ! Now texting while walking i agree is a pretty lame and petty way for the city to fill thier coffers,But DONT YOU EVER TRIVIALISE MY LIFE or the life of my wife who rides on the back of my bike because you think teenage **** chatter text is more important !!!!
May 28, 2011 4:29PM
Yes. People still dont get it. There is nothing...nothing importaint enough to text worth losing your life. And as for texting and should be on the same level as drinking and driving.
I wonder what percentage of today's youth, under 21, ever composed a written letter?
May 28, 2011 8:15PM

We should not be enacting laws to protect stupid people.  If you don't have the sense to come in out of the rain, you should be allowed to get wet! 

If you get pneumonia and die as a result, there will be one less dumbbell to create another stupid person.

May 28, 2011 5:45PM
This has nothing to do with oppression or 'Obama's America' or anything like that. It's a lot more simplistic than that. People are idiots. If it's so hard to take your face out of your phone for long enough to cross the street, you have issues. No one is gonna miss a text from you if you let it sit for the seconds it takes you to cross, trust me. You're just not That interesting to the person you're talking to that they can't wait. And the fact that crashes increase when it comes to the law's implementation only shows that people get even more careless after the fact. People are stupid. This is a widely known fact. I'm no Einstein, I'll be the first to tell you that. But at least I'll never walk out in front of a speeding truck because I just couldn't drag my eyes away from my cell phone.
May 27, 2011 1:40PM
The elderly couple driving 45mph in a 70mph zone is just as equally dangerous.
May 29, 2011 1:07PM

You just can't fix STUPID!


(it doesn't matter how many laws are enforced)

May 29, 2011 8:04AM
And some people here still aren't reading the article. 

No one is banning texting. Text all you want, but when it comes time to PAY ATTENTION at a crosswalk, do it. 

May 28, 2011 6:50PM
It isn't just about people being hit by cars. I work in downtown Denver and one day recently, in the course of walking TWO BLOCKS, I had THREE different men plow into me because they were on their cell phones while walking  (and two of them were as I was crossing the street). What is so damned important that you can't wait until you can step out of the way of other people?
May 28, 2011 5:41PM

wish we had such a law in Seattle- such a statute should include texting/stumbling blindly down a crowded sidewalk - such rudeoids should be responsible  for there own pathways. one of these days I won't alter my course to avoid colliding with them as there texting is so much more important than paying attention to where they are going. whoops! surprise!!


I would be all for this except for one thing. It is time for the "people" to get involved in the making of their own laws. Sick and tired of seeing politicians, city councils, etc. etc. telling us what THEY think we should do. Then THEY pass a law telling us. The folks of a town, borough, district, county, should be able to make their own decisions as a group. It is time for we "the people" to be involved, heavily involved in what WE think is best for us.
May 29, 2011 8:00AM
excessive cell phone use and texting should be encouraged;it could perhaps rid the world of a billion or so nitwits. 
May 29, 2011 3:06AM
Now if a person is dumb enough to walk into traffic while texting, they deserve to get hit by a car.  I also think the driver who hits this idiot should be given the person's life insurance to cover the damage to their vehicle.  Forget the fines, let nature take it's course. 
May 28, 2011 6:20PM
It will be a sad day when someone who is so ignorant as to understand the dangers of walking and texting can't come back from the dead to set the record straight about why they got hit by a car and died, and then the driver is jailed for involuntary manslaughter.  The texter/walkers are creating hazards to drivers on the roads.  I agree with the law.  People, unplug a bit and pay more attention!!!!
May 28, 2011 9:20PM

I see all kind daily. not long ago on my way to work, this lady driving a chevy suburban in front of me and her baby in the back seat was swerving all over the road. kept my distance for approximatly 1 .5 miles. she was driving over the dividing yellow line then she looked down, (i assumed she dropped her phone) and while trying to retrieve it the truck went right to the shoulder and before she recovered it a mail box was flying into the air.

the sad deal is they cause more dangers to others than to themselves.

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.