‘Distracted Walking' Could Come With $500 Fine in Chicago

A proposed "distracted walking" ordinance that could become law in Chicago would see pedestrians fined up to $500 for negligently strolling with their eyes fixed on a cellphone screen.

NBC 5 asked city strollers Wednesday night what they thought of the proposal. Some barely noticed a TV news crew let alone the traffic trying to turn.

"Well people do walk into traffic when they're not paying attention," one pedestrian told NBC 5 Wednesday night.

"Pedestrians are getting hurt more often---well if you cross when the light is red you should be good," another said.

But you're not according to aldermen Burke and Beale, co-sponsors of the new ordinance aimed at pedestrian safety.

Fines ranging from $90 to $500 are proposed for cell phone texting or talking in a crosswalk.

“No person shall cross a street or highway while using a mobile electronic device in a manner that averts their visual attention to that device or that device’s activity,” the proposed ordinance says.

On Chicago crosswalks, the aldermen say, injury and even death is on the rise related.

During the first six months of 2017, 27 pedestrians were killed on the streets of Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. A year prior, there were 28 deaths reported, according to the newspaper.

One man NBC 5 spoke with on a busy Chicago street who looked up from her cellphone offered a "good excuse."

"I'm a tourist from Germany, I just came in today," he said.

Told the ordinance wasn't a law just yet, he conceded that it "probably" should be.

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