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Hold The Phone: Fiction or Fine?

Woke up this morning and of course the first thing I did was...yes, you guessed it: check my twitter timeline. Well, on my way to the bathroom of course. When my mom wakes up the first thing she does is turn on the news but, I'm 21, Twitter IS my CNN. Needless to say, I was appalled with what I read: Philly To Fine Pedestrians for Walking and Texting. Now ya'll know Twitter kills people (RIP Hugh Hefner?) and if you're from Philly (which I am) the 'slander' is at an all time high. So with fake deaths and no country for nothin' I can't take too many tweets seriously. So of course I did my own research.

Apparently unbeknownst to me, a resident of Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly love (ha!) launched a new program in May entitled, "Give Respect, Get Respect" which is aimed towards eliminating bad behavior on and off the road. I'd vaguely heard about this 'campaign' in the past, it also cracks down on bicyclists who ride on sidewalks. But of course, as ignorant as it may be to admit, 'if It don't apply, I let it fly'. I was far from concerned with a bicyclist fine, I don't even own a bicycle! BUT I do own a leg, two actually! And a cell phone! (#TeamBlackberry) And I've acquired a fine set of skills known as texting and walking. I can put this on a cover letter, I have actually, its called 'multitasking'. For example, walking to the car from the club in four inch heels simultaneously texting a friend asking about an after party, all the while dodging traffic consisting of cars and people. If I were watching me I'd be impressed with myself. And thanks to the invention of the QWERTY keyboard many of us can text without looking. So now you fine Philadelphia Officials are going to punish me for adapting to my environment? I'm appalled.

Well, I'm disregarding the whole 'girl in the fountain' youtube fiasco. And the fact that although I myself have never walked into a pole, its only because I'm lucky. Cell phones are a distraction and God forbid I, the pedestrian, have the right of way but I'm distracted by my phone &dont notice the car, whose driver is also distracted by his phone, but doesn't have the right of way. Its a vicious cycle and as an avid walking texter I'm somewhat appreciative that policy makers know what a heavy burden this skill is on my attention span!

Ok seriously, I'm on the fence about this fine. So while innocent bystanders are getting shot everyday and support staff for the school district are getting laid off in the midst of economic recovery, you're going to expand enforcement and pose a plea for more grant money in an effort to catch me walking and texting, harming noone but possibly myself? Well that's where the 'on the fence' comes in because as I stated before, talking and texting can be very dangerous. Then again so can riding a motorcycle without a helmet *coughs*.

According to Mayor Nutter's Twitter account, about 2000 pedestrians are hit by cars each year and motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians need to share the road, however, "it is NOT illegal to text and walk in Philly, u will NOT be fined, you will NOT be ticketed" and such reports stating so are "misleading." So has Twitter started up a false frenzy again? Well for those of us that can read between the lines its evident that while the grant money may not be available there HAS been talk of imposing pedestrian fines. Will u be fined today or tomorrow? No, but eventually there will be a yay or nay to said proposal. Needless to say I won't be texting and walking anytime soon. I don't have $120 to spare and some habits are hard to break. Any thoughts, comments? Please share!

By: Nola Darling
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