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Author Topic: Please protect me from myself some more
The Pixiest
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070207/us_nm/newyork_ipod_dc

quote:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Yorkers who blithely cross the street listening to an iPod or talking on a cell phone could soon face a $100 fine.

Banning ipods in crosswalks. What WILL they think of next?

No, seriously... what are they going to ban next?? [Angst]

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Pat
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Your ability to eat trans fat?

Oh wait...

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Avatar300
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If iPods are so harmful, shouldn't they just be banned outright? Frankly, one death is too many in any situation. We should just ban all interaction with technology of any sort. Also with other people. Or, to prevent any harm at all, we can kill babies at birth, then nothing bad can happen.

It became necessary to destroy a life in order to save it.

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Phanto
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This is the kind of thing that a) makes me want to swear, b) never go to NY again, c) get all my friends to not go there again.
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just_me
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I actually like this better than what they've done around here.

I live in a University town and we've had a couple people get killed by buses which were turning the corner and didn't see the person just walk out into the street without looking. These buses even have a beep that sounds when they turn to warn people.

Anyway, so they've decided the appropriate response is to lower the speed limits and change traffic patterns so this won't happen... without any kind of notice/warning to pedestrians.

To me this isn't just protecting the pedestrian despite themselves. It's protecting drivers from having to face pedestrians that aren't aware enough of their surroundings to act responsibly.

Now, if you want to pass a law that says if I kill someone who was crossing the street playing a video game I can't be prosecuted or sued then I'd agree I see no reason for a law like this.

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TL
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What in the name of all that is holy....
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Marlozhan
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You know, I broke my little toe once when I stubbed it in my house, on the corner of a wall, after walking too quickly and carelessly around the corner.

I wholeheartedly think that, here in Northern Idaho, there should be some indoor speed limits. I mean, I'm one of those people who has to run up and down stairs, and likes to walk places quickly. It is clear that I am a danger to myself. I mean, next time, it could be worse. I might fall down the stairs and break a leg, or even my neck.

Indoor speed limits are clearly important to my safety. Maybe a 3mph speed limit, and of course new building codes will have to include that all homes be required to have surveillance cameras posted in your home, and these cameras will of course be radar-equipped to detect your speed and report it to local law enforcement.

Now, we know that there are certain things that just shouldn't be recorded in the home, so you will be allotted a small amount of time each day in which you are allowed to turn cameras off. They will automatically turn on if you forget to do so after your time has lapsed.

Or, maybe it would be better to just have cameras placed in high traffic areas, which run all of the time. So, you know, if you and your significant other wish to have a little fun in the living room (where people walk a lot) you may have to keep it in the bedroom, just on your bed, since there is traffic around the bed.

I know it sounds like a lot of hassle, but isn't our safety worth it? I mean, yes, you will need to give up a little privacy, but in the long run, we will realize how valuable our increased safety is, even in our own homes.

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El JT de Spang
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I can't convey in words how much I abhor the laws we have that protect people who are too stupid to protect themselves.

Whatever happened to good old fashioned survival of the fittest? I think we're seriously damaging our gene pool by helping all these jackasses reach breeding age.

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just_me
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Yeah, cause your living room is so like the public street. Try tackling the point I'm actually making instead of propping up a straw man to fall over at the first breeze.

The difference is that I don't have to walk through your living room every day to get to work.

And the wall doesn't get hurt when you stub your toe.

I see it like this:
1) Make a rule that keeps me from hurting myself and only myself - NO WAY.

2) Make a rule that keeps me from hurting others or causing hardship to others - SURE.

I don't think it's unreasonable to require that pedestrians take some accountability for not causing accidents. I've seen way too many pedestrians, cyclists, roller bladers etc just shoot out into traffic with no regard. I'd just shrug and figure it's evolution at work except when one of them jumps out in front of my car it's not just them that's affected - I may not get physically hurt but you can bet it's gonna hurt me anyway.

And when their family sues me for everything I have no one is going to care that I did nothing wrong - I'm going to lose and it'll me my family that pays the price.

So, like I said before... either give me, the driver, some protections under the law by making it hard to prosecute/sue me for hitting a stupid pedestrian or go ahead and do *something* to stop the pedestrians from being stupid in the first place.

Any, just for the record, I've been on both sides. I live in NYC and walked everywhere and I've lived where I need to drive everywhere.

{edited to fix spelling and remove a stray sentence}

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ClaudiaTherese
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For what it's worth, just_me, I agree with you.
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just_me
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quote:
For what it's worth, just_me, I agree with you.
It's worth alot, thanks! It's always nice to know you're not alone.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Marlozhan:
You know, I broke my little toe once when I stubbed it in my house, on the corner of a wall, after walking too quickly and carelessly around the corner.

That's because you live in a primitive backwater that hasn't realized yet the need to ban corners. Everything should be round, smooth, and padded.

<giggles madly>

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Marlozhan
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I'm not sure how easily these types of laws can be stopped. There seems to be a fundamental way many Americans think that is behind much of this. I, for one, detest a lot of these laws, yet I have found myself from time to time subconsciously thinking the government should intervene. For example, I am driving down a road that is in bad need of repair. A thought crosses my mind: "There should be law against these kind of roads." Or, I see someone do something stupid, or irritating, and I think, "That should be outlawed."

Of course, once I have that thought, I recognize it and remind myself that I really don't want any such law, and that I am just reacting to an inconvenience or annoyance. I have had that experience hundreds of times, and I am one of the people that is for less government, not more. This is just my opinion, and I don't know how often other people have such subconscious reactions, but I think this is evidence of how we have been trained to think in our government.

I guarantee you that the early citizens of our country did not have such thoughts frequently coming to mind. Most of them abhorred the thought of too much federal involvement. But now, it almost seems we expect the government, either intentionally or subconsciously, to protect us and make our lives better. Of course, these are good goals. Who doesn't want to be safer and have a better life? But is that what we are really accomplishing?

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I think changing such laws will require a fundamental paradigm change in the way many of us think.

Am I the only one who thinks this?

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Marlozhan
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And by the way, just_me, my first comment was not meant to actually compare the two in seriousness. I was just feeling a little obnoxious at the moment. I was being sarcastic, and I realize it was an outrageous comparison.

Just meant to be fun [Smile]

I agree with your idea, in theory, that there should be laws to stop others from hurting others, or bringing hardship to others. However, even these types of laws can get a little tricky. Who decides what is considered hardship? Who decides how careful we need to be towards others? It gets complicated, and I don't claim to know the answers.

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El JT de Spang
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quote:
Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I think changing such laws will require a fundamental paradigm change in the way many of us think.
I don't think the existing laws are going anywhere, for precisely the reasons outlined by just_me. But I don't let that get in the way of a good bout of righteous indignation.

As always, it comes down to They that give up liberty for safety will lose both and deserve neither, or some such.

On the other hand, your actions don't just affect you and it's not fair to expect everyone to shoulder the increasing public health costs that would come from repealing the idiot laws.

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Marlozhan
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa: That's because you live in a primitive backwater that hasn't realized yet the need to ban corners. Everything should be round, smooth, and padded.

<giggles madly>

You must be thinking of the state of Idaho. I live in Northern Idaho. Completely different. [Razz]
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just_me
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quote:
Originally posted by Marlozhan:
And by the way, just_me, my first comment was not meant to actually compare the two in seriousness. I was just feeling a little obnoxious at the moment. I was being sarcastic, and I realize it was an outrageous comparison.

Just meant to be fun [Smile]

[Embarrassed] Sorry I mis-interpreted. Sometimes I'm not very good about reading the "tone" of these things.
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Marlozhan
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And I sometimes forget that I actually need to specify when I am joking, since tone doesn't come through the keyboard.
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TheGrimace
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just_me, I partly agree with you in that it's long bugged me how much lack of responsibility pedestrians have when crossing busy streets and whatnot, but I also think the proposition in question is fairly ludacris.

I think that the laws should be similar to the whole "if two people stop at a stopsign the one on the right has the right of way..." axiom. if an accident happens and neither the driver nor the pedestrian is obviously at fault, then perhaps things should swing their way because the driver is the one in posession of a vehicle known to be capable of causing a great deal of harm. However, there should certainly be a lot more leeway in the areas of pedestrians walking/running out into the middle of busy streets, eschewing crosswalks, engaging in activities which actively distract from safely crossing the road (i.e. reading, playing psp, MAYBE listening to music...)

too many times have I seen people just start walking across 6 lane highways in the middle of rush hour (with traffic actually moving), or the time when I nearly ran over a woman as she darted out into the street after her pet bird which flew out of her hands and between the wheels of my car (amazingly no one was hurt, including the bird) I'd like to think that judges would have the power to reason through issues like this, but I'm not certain it's the case.

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Avatar300
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quote:
For example, I am driving down a road that is in bad need of repair. A thought crosses my mind: "There should be law against these kind of roads." Or, I see someone do something stupid, or irritating, and I think, "That should be outlawed."
Consider: The roads are considered a public space. Some level of government is responsible for building and maintaining these roads. So really, what is needed in this case is a law against government corruption and incompetence.

I know that according to law pedestrians have the right of way. But considering that cars and trucks are fast moving projectiles, shouldn't it be the other way around?

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Primal Curve
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I think these laws are a great idea! Do you know how hard it is to get blood out of the paint on my car? It's so inconvenient!

Don't even get me started on what happens when an eyeball gets past the air filter on the intake...

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Marlozhan
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quote:
Originally posted by Primal Curve:
I think these laws are a great idea! Do you know how hard it is to get blood out of the paint on my car? It's so inconvenient!

Don't even get me started on what happens when an eyeball gets past the air filter on the intake...

I hate it when that happens.
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The Pixiest
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Someone might step out in front of my car once... but I bet they won't have guts enough to do it again.
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Tante Shvester
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I got a papercut at work. I'm contacting OSHA. There ought to be a law requiring that the edges of the papers be blunt.
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El JT de Spang
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They are, if you're small enough.
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ClaudiaTherese
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Dagonee has changed in part how I think of these things. I used to assume that laws were made in order to be enforced across the board. Now I think of them as often being used to inform or determine the charges made.

So, for example, I doubt that all people in the affected are who cross streets while wearing iPods would be charged. However, if there is a vehicular trauma associated with this, I can see where breaking this law could be used in assessing partial culpability.

For example, if a car has to swerve to avoid a pedestrian not paying attention to the traffic and runs into another car, I imagine some of the fault could now be directly attributed to the person who really did cause the accident.

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mr_porteiro_head
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Crap. That actually makes a lot of sense.
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kojabu
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Are they also going to fine people who do actually pay attention while crossing a street (such as myself) while on a cell phone or listening to an iPod? What about people who have the little headset phone things? The way the article is worded, it sounds like they'd be fining those not paying attention, but I don't know what the law actually says.
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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
Crap. That actually makes a lot of sense.

*nods

It was a change in thinking for me.

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The Pixiest
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Then why don't they make them specifically appliable when harm is done to others instead of a general purpose law that can be enforced any time to fill the cities coffers with fine money?
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pH
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quote:
Originally posted by kojabu:
Are they also going to fine people who do actually pay attention while crossing a street (such as myself) while on a cell phone or listening to an iPod? What about people who have the little headset phone things? The way the article is worded, it sounds like they'd be fining those not paying attention, but I don't know what the law actually says.

Ooooh, the Attention Police. No flirting! No sightseeing! No eating! No skipping!

-pH

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TheGrimace
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quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
Then why don't they make them specifically appliable when harm is done to others instead of a general purpose law that can be enforced any time to fill the cities coffers with fine money?

this is what worries me. I don't necessarily think that it's going to happen, but I know of some instances where it effectively does.
example: there is a road on the other side of the building in which I work where one of our gates spits you out in the middle of the block, and generally you want to go straight across rather than go out of your way on both sides of the road to the crosswalk which is a 1/4 mile down. while I have yet to hear of any accidents on this stretch of road, the police have started rigorously enforcing the no jay-walking law at this area.

I'm not saying it's terribly smart or safe to break this law, but being fined for it when no damage is being caused and even when no inconvenience is being caused seems excessive, but within the purview of such a law. If it's 2 am with no cars within sight then I shouldn't be finable for jaywalking or listening to my ipod etc...

but yes, CT, you (and by extension Dag) have a point in the practicality of our legal system, but the potential bothers me (especially in a society where our freedoms keep getting restricted in the name of safety)

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by TheGrimace:

but yes, CT, you (and by extension Dag) have a point in the practicality of our legal system, but the potential bothers me (especially in a society where our freedoms keep getting restricted in the name of safety)

Careful! I speak only for myself, here. I don't know how he feels about this law.

I noted his name because things he said about other laws started me thinking along different lines elsewhere. Don't know if he would agree that applies here, though.

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Dagonee
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I tend toward thinking that this is not a good law. For one, I am highly suspicious laws made in response to anecdotes. Sometimes a single story can make a convincing case that a change in law is needed - for example, when a clever defense attorney finds a "loophole" that gets a defendant off for behavior we generally agree should be covered in a given offense. For example, throwing acid at someone might not be covered under some aggravated assault statutes because acid wasn't considered a weapon. When a particular decision brings this to our attention, an amendment saying "Caustic substances shall be includes in the definition of weapon under the aggravated assault statute" is a good thing.

In this case, though, the legislator is basing this on three incidents. Selection bias in the media, selection bias in what we remember, and the lack of comparisons to risks associated with non-iPod walking make it impossible to conclude that iPods create a sufficient risk to justify using the incredibly imprecise weapon of the law.

On the other hand, categorizing this as "protecting us from ourselves" isn't quite accurate. At minimum the car, and quite likely people nearby, can be hurt when a driver either hits a careless pedestrian or swerves to avoid one. The risk is not solely to the reckless actor. Crossing that increases the risk of being struck is a harm that I believe to be the legitimate target of the law. So, while I disagree with the law because I don't think "iPod = risk" has been sufficiently proven, I don't disagree with it based on my general opposition to nanny-statism.

If this is truly a problem, create a reckless crossing violation. Allow admission of iPod status as evidence to be considered by the judge. If necessary, create a civil rule of evidence that iPod wearing creates a presumption of negligence in crossing (this isn't allowed in criminal proceedings, nor should it be). Or, if a few good studies determine that iPod wearing in the crosswalk is more dangerous than jaywalking, pass the law based on this evidence.

The phenomenon CT is referencing is one that is best served by a large range in potential penalty and a range of lesser included offenses, something unlikely to be present here. But I think her point is still well-taken - jaywalking is illegal in many cities and seldom enforced. But the presence of the jaywalking laws helps us determine civil liability in many circumstances.

I don't have a huge problem with seldom-enforced laws in principle, although I think we have too many of them. What's required is a body politic ready to call the executive into account for excessive enforcement of such laws AND a society that doesn't think that every black-letter violation of the law should result in a conviction.

I do think there's a legitimate place for criminal penalties for risky behavior that causes no harm. Firing a gun on a crowded street is a prime example. The greater the harm risked by the behavior, the greater the justification for criminal penalties. Here, the harm to others is more serious than I think some people are crediting.

The flip side of the calculus, though, is how much the behavior increases the risk of the harm occurring. The gun example has high levels of harm and high levels of risk. I'm not convinced that iPods have shown the high level of risk needed to justify even the light penalty proposed here.

Ultimately, laws like this serve to further dull society's appreciation for the serious act of making a new crime.

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Frisco
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quote:
I don't think it's unreasonable to require that pedestrians take some accountability for not causing accidents.
quote:
For example, if a car has to swerve to avoid a pedestrian not paying attention to the traffic and runs into another car, I imagine some of the fault could now be directly attributed to the person who really did cause the accident.
There are laws against jaywalking, right?

If the sign says "Walk", then you're allowed to be in the crosswalk, and any car swerving to miss you and causing an accident is at fault.

If it says "Don't Walk", then any pedestrian in the road jaywalking should be at fault.

Can't these people causing accidents already be charged with a numbers of infractions...or is jaywalking the only one? Negligence? Involuntary manslaughter? Civil charges?

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RunningBear
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Now, enough making fun, when has fascism ever failed?
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porcelain girl
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I echo Frisco; I don't understand how laws about jaywalking don't already cover this. I have plenty of friends who have been fined for jaywalking - when it was dangerous and not dangerous.

Why should personal electronics be a part of it when the abberrant behavior is the walking? People are easily distracted by many things, I think the behavior, not the various possible causes, should be punished.

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jlt
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I can't decide what I think,this is the debate going on in my mind:

In this case if a person decides to not pay attention when crossing the street, they only harm themselves and no one else, so it's not the government's place to control the individual. The government can feel free to discourage and maybe start an advertising campaign, but a law?

But then again, what if the distracted person crossing the street causes a car crash?

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brojack17
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Since when do we need lawmakers instead of common sense.

Oh yeah, when people lost their common sense.

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Dagonee
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If they get hit, someone's car will be damaged at minimum.

In general, I think people reflexively don't consider the property damage in such a situation because, invariably, so much more harm is done to the pedestrian (unless the pedestrian is an alien who grew up in a small Kansas farming community).

It's unseemly to worry about a 1,200 dollar bumper repair when someone is most likely in a cast for at least 6 weeks - if they're lucky.

However, if one is against laws where the only harm is to the actor who is charged with the offense, one is effectively saying "the harm a person causes himself is not to be factored into the evaluation of this law." So looking at the property damage in such circumstances is not placing beemers over bodies, but evaluating harm to others.

quote:
I echo Frisco; I don't understand how laws about jaywalking don't already cover this. I have plenty of friends who have been fined for jaywalking - when it was dangerous and not dangerous.
We don't allow drivers to ignore danger, even if that danger is another car doing something illegal. Most states have a "last potential avoider" rule which places at least some liability on a driver who does not take action to avoid a crash, even if the crash is only likely because of illegal behavior by another driver. For example, if a stupid, inconsiderate jerk turns right on red when I'm coming through my green light, I break the law if I hit him if I could have avoided it.

A pedestrian who cannot hear a horn or approaching traffic might miss their chance to avoid an accident. Even thought the other driver is doing something illegal, the lack of attention can lead to the loss of a chance to prevent an accident.

An officer can pull someone over for reading while driving, even if there is no swerving, speeding, or other illegal act, simply because reading keeps a driver from paying attention.

Again, I don't think it's been proven that iPods increase chance of accident. But, if they do, then jaywalking statutes do not necessarily serve to prevent the harm of the increased chance of accident. The anti-iPod statute would fill a gap that is presently unfilled.

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jlt
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No I"m saying what if a car stopped suddenly to avoid a pedestrian and then another car crashed into that one and injuries were caused to the people in the cars.

Also, the law, I think, would be highly difficult to enforce, rather like the rules against iPods and cell phones at my school.

Oh well, people just keep forgetting what they learn in kindergarden. I remember our class had a lesson in how to cross streets "Look both ways, Listen for cars that might be coming". Maybe NY should just mandate classes in this for adults.

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pooka
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Why is an iPod more distracting than a car radio?

Also, Salt Lake took a hit for being least safe for pedestrians right before the Olympics, so they installed at every downtown corner a rack of orange flags that people can wave while they cross the street. The weird thing is how the flags get distributed unevenly over time.

I knew a blind person who said those beeping crosswalks are counterproductive to her efforts of not getting run over, because they obscure the "natural" traffic sounds.

And I think that's about all I have to say on this topic. Well, without getting into the whole consumerism/mood disorder thing about why people are so weird nowadays.

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stihl1
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Why can't we just let dumb people get killed? It used to happen all the time. Without weeding these people out like this we'll end up with an Idiocracy society a lot faster.
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MightyCow
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Does it say anything about reading? I'd hate to have to stop taking my reading-walks [Smile]
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Dagonee
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quote:
No I"m saying
To whom is this addressed?
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zgator
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quote:
Why is an iPod more distracting than a car radio?
You said it yourself later in the post. Unless you've got your car radio turned way up, you can still hear traffic around you. If you've got earphones on, you might not be able to hear a car honking at you. I'm pretty sure in the state of Florida, it's illegal to drive or ride a bike while wearing earphones.
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lem
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quote:
No, seriously... what are they going to ban next?? [Angst]
The right for you to criticize laws that would ban people from wearing Ipods crossing the street?

Actually it looks like it didn't fly, but it is scary that it was even introduced.

*To be fare, the first link was about "Congress" not "laws." It is just the first thing that popped into my head when I read your post.*

EDIT: clarity

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Dagonee
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That first link contains outright falsehood, lem:

quote:
"Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the
Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to
500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report
quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists. Section 220
would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive
intrusion on First Amendment rights ever. For the first time in history,
critics of Congress will need to register and report with Congress itself.
"The bill would require reporting of 'paid efforts to stimulate
grassroots lobbying,' but defines 'paid' merely as communications to 500 or
more members of the public, with no other qualifiers.

It requires someone to receive $25,000 in a single quarter.

I'm against the law myself, but the attacks on it have been a pack of lies as best I can tell.

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lem
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quote:
It requires someone to receive $25,000 in a single quarter.

I'm against the law myself, but the attacks on it have been a pack of lies as best I can tell.

SO it is not about how many members it communicates to but how much money it makes? I am confused. Everything I have read about it says otherwise, but I have not waded deep enough to see what is a lie. Why are you against it? I must totally not understand the bill.
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Dagonee
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There's a long thread on it somewhere. I'll search later if you don't find it yourself. Look for a post by me with "anonymous" in it (check various misspellings, too:)).

It involves number of people it communicates with AND amount of money received.

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