x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Text and walk and pay the price

In Rexburg, Idaho, it's called a WWT (walking while texting) offence and it can lead to a $50 (Dh183) fine.

Anyone who has ever found themselves irritated at being trapped behind a slow, texting walker can identify with authorities in several jurisdictions in the US who have had enough and are taking action.

In Rexburg, Idaho, it's called a WWT (walking while texting) offence and it can lead to a $50 (Dh183) fine, with authorities arguing that drastic action was needed to prevent distracted texters from walking into traffic and also other people.

In Pennsylvania, authorities have begun fining "distracted drivers, cyclists and pedestrians" as part of a wider "Give Respect, Get Respect" campaign. Back in January, a slapstick moment was caught on security camera when a woman so absorbed in tapping out her latest message walked straight into a water fountain at a shopping mall. Compounding her humiliation, the recording quickly went viral on YouTube. Philadelphia's mayor, Michael A Nutter is keen the event not be repeated, warning that violators will be "reminded to be more aware of their surroundings".

And it's not only authorities stepping in. For those committed to the head-down approach, the handy Email n' Walk app uses the iPhone's forward-facing camera to provide a clear visual of the road ahead - without having to take their eyes off the screen. The disclaimer is crystal clear, stating that the company cannot "take any responsibility for your stupidity" and further requesting that users not walk "off of cliffs, or into the middle of gunfights while e-mailing". Sound advice indeed - probably best to walk and talk the old fashioned way.