February 18 2007

New York, the new California!

It’s well known that California never met a law it didn’t like, but now it appears New York state is following the lead. A couple of weeks ago a state senator proposed banning using electronic devices when crossing the intersections in major cities such as New York City. Apparently three pedestrians were killed by cars while crossing streets and were found to be using iPods. They would be ticketed $100 if spotted by police.

I traveled to New York City for five years in a row when I was a magazine writer to cover a press event. It was the early to mid-90’s, and I noticed something about people crossing the streets there, I called it “The Lemming Effect”. They would be reading newspapers, magazines, any number of things besides paying attention to the lights. They would see movement out of the corner of their eye, they’d step in to the street thinking they had the signal. This was pre iPod mind you, and cell phones were just picking up speed. Some people weren’t even reading or using anything, they were just zoned out. Also, I really can not see cops taking time out of their day to cite people for using electronic devices when crossing the street.

Now there’s a new one, a different state senator is proposing banning “spinner” hubcaps as a distraction. His law, however, would not ban hubcaps with built in LED lights or advertisements. On the third citation, it would be a $750 fine for the spinners.

This is government as “nanny” in my eyes. These are pointless laws where these men feel they have to hold your hand and help you cross the street. They are nothing but a burden on the people who have to enforce them, on the courts, and on the government itself. No distractions when crossing the street? Ok, you’d better include newspapers and magazines. What about people who get lost in their own thoughts? Deaf and blind people? This is silly and a waste of time. The government has to stop trying to be our parents and protecting us from ourselves.

I am sure these men have the best of intentions, but they are just silly laws that do nothing but irritate people, take up valuable police time and do nothing but further take away personal rights. How about concentrating on actual problems like state budgets?

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