Do Cities Need Texting Zones? - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Government // Open Government

Do Cities Need Texting Zones?

New York state is planning pull-over texting "zones" on some of its highways to reduce driving accidents. Should cities follow suit?

This week, New York's governor announced a plan to put "texting zones" on state highways. It got me thinking about whether cities need to do the same.

First, a bit about the news: In an effort to reduce the number of distracted drivers on the roads of New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo revealed a plan to put "texting zones" on the New York State Thruway and state highways, where drivers can pull over and respond to text messages. This is, in part, a response to the fact that New York has seen a 365% increase in tickets issued to distracted drivers between the summers of 2012 and 2013 (In 2013, 16,027 people were pulled over for talking on cellphones, and 5,553 for texting, as compared to 4,284 and 924, respectively, in 2012).

As Cuomo said in a statement, "With this new effort, we are sending a clear message to drivers that there is no excuse to take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road because your text can wait until the next Texting Zone."

Distracted driving is a huge issue for cities. Indeed, just last week we discussed a social media campaign launched by the Mayor of Houston, Texas, to unite Texan cities against texting while driving. With pedestrian death on the rise in cities across the US, there's an absolute need to curb driver distractions.

However, there's something about Cuomo's plan that bugs me -- mainly that, in a way, it caves to the compulsion drivers have to text while behind the wheel. The rule-compliant person in me wants to say that it's ridiculous that we should have to designate space to people who can't obey the laws.

Then again, that kind of attitude isn't going to save lives.

Furthermore, unlike the state highways in New York, cities now have to contend with a new breed of "drivers," or vehicle operators, including cyclists, skateboarders, and motor scooter drivers -- all of whom could do harm to themselves and others by combining those activities with texting. And if you think no one would be stupid enough to text while riding a skateboard, then you weren't in Manhattan on Sunday, where I saw a young man doing just that while rapidly rolling down 2nd Avenue (without wearing a helmet, naturally).

Read the rest of this article on Future Cities.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Slideshows
IT Leadership: 10 Ways to Unleash Enterprise Innovation
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/8/2021
Commentary
Preparing for the Upcoming Quantum Computing Revolution
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  6/3/2021
News
How SolarWinds Changed Cybersecurity Leadership's Priorities
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/26/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll