Legislating common sense

Legislating common sense

Twenty years ago, I was a freshman at Boston University, which if you aren’t familiar with Boston, is an urban campus strung out along one of the city’s major streets, Commonwealth Avenue. Everyday tens of thousands of students wandered, walked, strolled, and ran along and across the road on their way to and from classes and social engagements. Combining thousands of busy and distracted students on foot with thousands of busy and distracted commuters in cars is a recipe for tragedy. Every year it seems there’s at least a couple of car accidents involving students and traffic. Back in 1986, I saw one of these myself. I was walking down the sidewalk, approaching a crosswalk, when another student stepped out into traffic right in front of a car. I can still remember his limp body flying through the air like a rag doll. I have no idea of the outcome for that poor fellow because a big crowd immediately gathered and someone ran to call an ambulance (remember, this is pre-cellphone) and my presence would be superfluous.

I’m recalling this incident because a New York state legislator wants to pass a law to make it illegal to listen to a music player or use an electronic device while crossing the street.

He cited the death of a 21-year-old man who was listening to music when he stepped off a curb and was hit by a bus in Brooklyn in September, and the death of a 23-year-old iPod listener last month.

“If you’re so involved in your electronic device that you can’t see or hear a car coming, this is indicative of a larger problem that requires some sort of enforcement beyond the application of common sense,” Kruger said.

No “fluting” while driving

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli