A new bill is proposing fines of anywhere from $25 to $250 for texting while crossing the street in New York City

man texting cell phone

  • A new bill proposes a variety of fines for crossing the street while texting in New York City. 
  • Fines would start at $25 and go up to $250, depending on whether or not you’re a repeat offender.
  • There are exceptions in the bill for police, firefighters, emergency personnel, and doctors.
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Crossing the street in New York City while texting could cost you more than your life — a new bill proposes it come with a fine of $25 to $250.

The bill, sponsored by Brooklyn Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, proposes a $25 fine for anyone caught using their smartphone while crossing the street. Though similar legislation died in the New York State Assembly in 2018, Queens State Senator John Liu is picking it up in the New York State Senate.

“This is just about common sense. Unfortunately it takes a little bit of legislation and the possibility of a minimal fine to get people to think about what they’re doing,” Liu told Gothamist.


The bill specifically calls for fines due to taking or viewing photos, using the internet, writing or reading emails, and text messaging.

“A fine of $25 to $50 for carelessly crossing the street is not the end of the world,” Liu told Gothamist.

The text of the bill states that first offenders would be fined anywhere from $25 to $50, while subsequent offenses within 18 months would increase the fine to as much as $250. 

The proposed bill doesn’t apply to talking on smartphones, and there are exclusions included for police officers, firefighters, emergency personnel, and doctors. 

SEE ALSO: Honolulu just banned the use of cell phones in intersections — here’s how cities around the world are battling the ‘distracted walking’ epidemic

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