Wednesday, February 7, 2007; 11:53 AM
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Yorkers who blithely cross the street listening to an iPod or talking on a cell phone could soon face a $100 fine.
New York State Sen. Carl Kruger says three pedestrians in his Brooklyn district have been killed since September upon stepping into traffic while distracted by an electronic device. In one case bystanders screamed "watch out" to no avail.
Kruger says he will introduce legislation on Wednesday to ban the use of gadgets such as Blackberry devices and video games while crossing the street.
"Government has an obligation to protect its citizenry," Kruger said in a telephone interview from Albany, the state capital. "This electronic gadgetry is reaching the point where it's becoming not only endemic but it's creating an atmosphere where we have a major public safety crisis at hand."
Tech-consuming New Yorkers trudge to work on sidewalks and subways like an army of drones, appearing to talk to themselves on wireless devices or swaying to seemingly silent tunes.
"I'm not trying to intrude on that," Kruger said. "But what's happening is when they're tuning into their iPod or Blackberry or cell phone or video game, they're walking into speeding buses and moving automobiles. It's becoming a nationwide problem."