Assembly Bill Bans Pedestrians Texting While Crossing Roads - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Assembly Bill Bans Pedestrians Texting While Crossing Roads

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Using your cell phone without a hands free device while driving has been illegal in Nevada for more than a year.

Assembly Bill 123 could take the law one step further.

If passed, the bill would make it illegal for pedestrians to read, browse the Internet, or text on wireless devices, if they're crossing any state road, even in residential areas.

It's the lack of attention that some say can have a fatal outcome.

"Once, I saw someone almost get hit by a car but they looked up just at the right moment," Guy Moreno said.

Last year, 58 pedestrians were hit and killed by cars, in Nevada. That's up from 46, in 2011.

Officials say they are all avoidable.

"Free up your distractions, focus on your walking, and realize that every car you walk in front of potentially can hit you if you're not paying attention," NHP Trooper Chuck Allen said. "We see that a lot."

Cell phones have become a part of every day life, so some are opposed to a law that would curb cell phone use on streets.

"You can't protect people from themselves," Kirk Schenk said. "There's idiots everywhere. So, I think that walking and texting certainly shouldn't be against the law."

"If people want to be safe, they can still text and look both ways," Gabrielle Holbrook said. "I always text and walk and I've never even been close to getting hit by a car."

Others say passing a new law might not be such a bad idea.

"I think it has pros and cons," Julia Kerrigan said. "I think it would be good because if you're crossing the street, you need to be aware as much as the drivers are."

"I think it's important," Moreno said. "It's a safety issue. You should be paying attention to the road."

When you're crossing the street, officials say to make eye contact with the driver, communicate and pay attention to the next lane of traffic.

"Just because you have the right of way to walk across the street, with the green light, doesn't mean that every other motorist is going to see you or pay attention," Allen said. "They themselves may be distracted."

If approved, violators would get a warning for their first offense. A second offense comes with a $100 fine, and a third would be $250.

Texting would be allowed during an emergency or while witnessing a crime.

Occupations like utility workers and emergency services would also be exempt.

Written by Paul Nelson
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