You’ve probably seen the countless YouTube videos of people so transfixed by their mobile phones that they walk into inanimate objects or fall into fountains.

And while it’s easy to laugh at such incidents, the truth is that distracted pedestrians can cause serious harm to themselves or other people — and now one New Jersey town is taking a stand.

Fort Lee, NJ Police Chief Thomas Ripoli says in his town alone there have been 23 pedestrian accidents related to cell phones since January, including three fatalities.

Handing out informational pamphlets and brochures about the dangers of distracted walking hasn’t worked, so his officers are now ticketing careless pedestrians.

“They’re not alert and they’re not watching what they’re doing,” Ripoli said. “As of now, [officers] are to give summonses to pedestrians who do not adhere to crosswalks and the lights.”

Unlike careless driving, there are no formal charges for distracted walking, but Ripoli says his squad members will “know it when they see it.”

Watch a news story below.


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