Avid texters beware: Fort Lee, N.J. police said they will begin issuing $85 jaywalking tickets to pedestrians who are caught texting while walking.
"It's a big distraction. Pedestrians aren't watching where they are going and they are not aware," said Thomas Ripoli, chief of the Fort Lee Police Department.
Ripoli said the borough, which is home to approximately 35,000 residents, has suffered three fatal pedestrian-involved accidents this year. He hopes his crackdown on people who display dangerous behavior while walking will make his town safer, but not everyone is on board with the idea of issuing $85 tickets.
"When I walk I still look around. I'm not like constantly looking down the whole time," said resident Sue Choe.
Another woman complained about the tickets were "a lot of money."
Officers handed out pamphlets during a short grace period in March before they began aggressively going after "dangerous walkers."
More than 117 tickets have been issued, according to the New Jersey Record.
Two professors at Stony Brook University in New York conducted a study on walking and texting. They found texters are 60 percent more likely to veer off line than non-texters.
"We want to raise awareness that a real disruption occurs because of texting," Eric Lamberg, co-author of the study, told Long Island Business News. "Texting disrupts your ability much more than does talking."
- Fort Lee Police Department