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New York to ban iPod, cell phone use on city streets?

February 7, 2007

A New York state senator wants to ban all iPod and cellphone use on New York city streets in the wake of two pedestrian deaths — both were wearing earphones and allegedly failed to hear oncoming traffic.

BeatlesiPodThis is ridiculous. Here’s the WCBS-TV report:

Legislation will be introduced in Albany on Wednesday to lay a $100 fine on pedestrians succumbing to what State Sen. Carl Kruger calls iPod oblivion.

“We’re talking about people walking sort of tuned in and in the process of being tuned in, tuned out,” Kruger said. “Tuned out to the world around them. They’re walking into speeding cars. They’re walking into buses. They’re walking into one another and it’s creating a number of fatalities that have been documented right here in the city.”

Pedestrians have been hurt and killed in the manner Kruger describes. Not surprisingly, though, iPod users are less than thrilled with the senator’s proposal.

“That’s not a distraction,” said one woman, iPod securely implanted in her ears. “You have your iPod in your ears and you’re crossing the street, you are looking with your eyes. You don’t have to hear anything, really … I guess.”

Added another New Yorker: “It’s a terrible idea. It’s outrageous.”

Kruger said not so fast.

“If you want to listen to your iPod, sit down and listen to it,” Kruger declared. “You want to walk in the park, enjoy it. You want to jog around a jogging path, all the more power to you, but you should not be crossing streets and endangering yourself and the lives of others.”

First off, it’s the responsibility of the iPod (or MP3 player) user to have the volume set at proper levels for his/her environment. And how you can tune out all the traffic noise in Manhattan with just two little bud earphones is beyond me!

Second, there’s not enough cops in New York state to enforce this. They can’t even fight nuisance crime well now, much less deal with every Joe Schmo with earbuds or a hands-free device in their ear.

Engadget clued me in on this story via Digg. Thanks Big E!

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4 Comments
  1. newhoosier permalink
    February 7, 2007 11:56 am

    What’s funny is the iPod user the reporter talked to. “…you are looking with your eyes. You don’t have to hear anything, really … I guess.” All that was missing were some “um”s and “like”s.

    How about this: no law banning headphones, and when a iPodder gets hit for walking out by themself without checking for traffic, no lawsuit either.

    Seems fair…

  2. February 7, 2007 12:26 pm

    There’s a little label that says “Don’t Steal Music” on the inside of every new iPod box. Now they’ll need “…and don’t walk into traffic” next to it. 🙂

  3. newhoosier permalink
    February 7, 2007 1:59 pm

    Yeah, the amount of ink and energy wasted because of our litigious nature is unimaginable.

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