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 "Heading to Hipster Coffee and Zen bar… join me?"

"It’s raining out here. Grr!"

"Where R U? I’m wearing a red shirt and a black hoodie."

"Ill b thre in5 mintss"

If one lawmaker in Carson City has his way, these thoughtful and momentous messages may soon become a thing of the past. That’s because Harvey Munford, an assemblyman who represents Las Vegas, is waging a fight against "texting and walking."

Munford has introduced a bill in the State Assembly that would make texting, surfing the Internet, or even reading messages on a mobile phone illegal while crossing a state highway. (It wouldn’t apply to all streets and roads in Nevada.) First time violators would receive a written warning, while repeat offenders could be fined $100 or even $250 for a third offense. 

Munford cites what he calls numerous examples of people using digital devices while walking and claims that they represent auto-pedestrian accidents waiting to happen. And while there have been instances of embarrassing mishaps elsewhere, there aren’t any documented cases of pedestrians being struck while simultaneously crossing a street and texting or web surfing on their phones in Las Vegas.

Your reaction to this bill may range somewhere between mild amusement and complete apathy. But it could have ramifications for civil court cases pertaining to auto-pedestrian accidents. If the bill becomes law, pedestrians who are observed messing with their phones while crossing a street may not be able to file personal injury lawsuits (nor could their relatives file wrongful death lawsuits if a fatality occurs) if they are struck by a vehicle – even if the driver was technically at fault.

It remains to be seen if this bill will pass the Assembly and be signed into law.

Contact Naqvi Injury Law for more information.