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Two aldermen want to fine pedestrians up to $500 for texting in crosswalks

Written by
Kris Vire

Pedestrians could face fines ranging from $90 to $500 for using their cell phones while crossing the street, under a proposal introduced today by two aldermen.

The ordinance introduced by Ald. Edward Burke of the 14th ward on the Southwest Side and Ald. Anthony Beale of the Far South Side 9th ward would empower police officers to issue tickets to pedestrians for “distracted walking” in intersections—defined as “cross[ing] a street or highway while using a mobile electronic device in a manner that averts their visual attention to that device or that device’s activity.”

A first offense would run you $90; fines for repeat offenders could rise to $500. Similar bans have recently been passed in Honolulu and in San Mateo County, California. Beale and Burke noted that 27 pedestrians were killed in the first half of 2017 in the city; they did not, according to the Chicago Tribune, cite any data on how many of those deaths involved a mobile device.

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