Jaywalking while on the phone could cost you more

Lawmakers held a hearing on the bill this week, but have not yet taken a vote

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Jaywalkers could soon face higher fines if they don’t put down their phones.

State lawmakers have proposed a bill that imposes higher fines for jaywalking, and doubles them if you don’t put down your phone.

With fines of only $1 for first, second, and third jaywalking offenses in Massachusetts, some state lawmakers think a higher fine would motivate pedestrians to follow the rules of the road.

House Bill 1834 creates a local option jaywalking law, with fines of $25 for a first offense, and $50 for a second offense.

Under the proposal, if you’re wearing headphones or using your cellphone while jaywalking, fines will double to $50 for a first offense and $100 for a second.

Jaywalking is when a pedestrian they goes against the signal light, or crosses between intersections outside of a designated crosswalk.

One driver told 22News the issue of texting while walking seems to be a problem among younger pedestrians.

“Texting is very dangerous, and people don’t pay attention when they walk across the street,” said Sandy Rosenberg of Amherst. “Especially near Amherst College, because they just walk across. They’re wearing dark clothes and they just don’t look around. It’s very dangerous.”

One woman said she wasn’t sure higher fines could convince some pedestrians to put down their phones.

“I was walking across the street or something, and people were like look up! They had to say it right then or it would have been bad,” said Zoe Kriegler-Wenk of Northampton. “So I definitely think it’s something that needs more awareness, I’m not positive if higher fines will be the incentive that we need, but we do need some incentive.”

Lawmakers held a hearing on the bill this week, but have not yet taken a vote.