Salt Lake City may adopt fines for “distracted walking” – Updated!

Salt Lake City's UTA board has voted to impose a $50 civil fine for distracted walking around UTA rail lines.

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In an earlier post I’ve made it clear that the number one rule for mobile phone security is “just put the damn phone down and drive”. In an update to that post, I even provided a link to a story where a Michigan woman had to be rescued because she walked off a pier and into a lake while distracted by texting on her mobile phone! The lesson there was that “distracted walking” can be just as bad as “distracted driving”. The problem isn’t limited to piers in Michigan however.

According to this article:

March 28, 2012 – Salt Lake Tribune: ‘Distracted walking’ by rails may now bring fines

the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) board has apparently concluded that “distracted walking” is leading to accidents involving pedestrians and UTA TRAX and FrontRunner trains. So, after a rash of recent incidents, UTA board members “voted 11-3 to create a $50 civil fine for distracted walking around UTA rail lines, and repeat offenses would cost $100.” The fines would not be limited just to texting and talking on mobile phones but would also include listening to music with headphones, attending to personal hygiene and reading newspapers and magazines while crossing train rails.

I generally think laws and ordinances like these are ridiculous but the UTA board apparently felt they needed to do something to build awareness of the risks of mindlessly walking into the path of an oncoming train!

If only people would be as willing to use their brains to the same degree they seem to be willing to use their mobile phones (and other gizmos) none of this would even be an issue!

 Update June 20, 2012

It appears that the ordinance has been killed:

June 20, 2012 – Salt Lake Tribune – Utah lawmakers decline to outlaw “distracted walking”


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    […] posted a while back about how Utah Transit Authority was considering fines for distracted walking near Trax and FrontRunner rails. Sadly, we now see the motivation behind those fines. As reported […]