My last blog was on distracted driving and the consequences of doing so. Should there also be laws against distracted walking? As technology continues to advance and the demand for the necessity of multi-tasking increases, we see more and more people walking around with their eyes glued to their phones; earbuds deafening their ears; and their minds hopelessly wondering without observing what is going on around them. The irony is that the more we are pulled in so many different directions, the more important it is to remain in touch with what is happening around us. Common sense would dictate that in furtherance of self-preservation we make a concerted effort to set aside these distractions while walking (and at other times) especially in cities or other crowded areas, as well as when walking alone. Clearly, the more crowded the area the greater the likelihood that something unexpected will happen. If you are not paying attention, how are you going to see the car that tries to beat the light as you’re entering the intersection while the “don’t walk sign” flashes? Or, how will you become aware of a suspicious person approaching if you don’t remain attentive to your surroundings? How many times have you seen or experienced a near miss while walking because of a lack of attentiveness? The frequency of these incidents are increasing dramatically as a direct result of the distractions around us.
All of my children play hockey. I tell them that they need to know where everyone is on the ice at all times, teammate or opponent. I also tell them that the same rings true in all other aspects of life, including activities such as driving, walking down the side walk, in a store, on a train platform or in an airplane. In short, everyone needs to know who or what is going on around them all the time in order to avoid, or at least to be able to attempt to avoid, potentially dangerous situations. When I wrote this Blog I was unaware that there was legislation pending that would impose fines for distracted walking. (Read More) This proposed legislation, if enacted, will require that you pay attention when crossing a road with penalties of a warning for the first offense and a $20 fine for any subsequent offense. It truly is a sad state of affairs to have to enact laws to force us to do what common sense dictates we do naturally.