Despite what you may have heard or read on your phone while taking a stroll, it’s not illegal to text and walk in Philly.
The city was in an uproar on Tuesday after several television and Internet reports, ranging from Good Morning America to Gawker, mistakenly stated that texting while walking had randomly become a crime that could yield a $120 fine.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter took to Twitter yesterday to straighten things out after his office was, understandably, flooded with phone calls. While Philadelphia police have installed an educational program targeting drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians regarding irresponsible cell phone use, it doesn’t include tickets or fines issued for texting while walking.
The confusion stemmed from a vague local news report about the “Give Respect, Get Respect” program which suggested that a new law regarding texting while walking would lead to consequences. Blogs and other news outlets picked up on the story and ran with it. Misinterpretation leads to rumors, which lead to angry people. Imagine the response to the first arrest for texting while walking….while intoxicated.
Blame the misunderstanding on the heat.