A proposed new law would ban pedestrians from using cellphones while crossing the street.
The law, proposed by Yisrael Beytenu MKs Liah Shemtov and Hemed Amar, would make it illegal to talk, text, read emails, or in any way use a cellphone while crossing the street. Mobile lawbreakers would face fines of hundreds of shekels, Maariv reported on Thursday.
The proposal follows closely on the heels of a new law in Fort Lee, New Jersey, which makes it illegal to text while walking.
The Or Yarok road safety nonprofit group lauded the Israeli proposal, saying there had been a rise in the past years in accidents involving pedestrians using electronic devices.
According to Maariv, Shemtov’s office checked with emergency rooms and found that cellphone use was well documented as a cause for pedestrians being hit while crossing the street.
Statistics on the phenomenon are difficult to collect, doctors noted, as many involved in such accidents conceal their cellphone use in order to be able to sue for damages. Injuries are caused by pedestrians walking into other pedestrians, poles, or trees, or being hit by vehicles as they cross the road.