By now, you've surely heard about the video of the woman who walked right into a shopping mall fountain because she was texting instead of paying attention to her surroundings.
Now, it appears that there's an effort underway in several states to make a crime out of wearing earbuds while bicycling or even crossing the street.
It almost seems silly that lawmakers would have to create a law that forces people to pay attention - but in California, Oregon, Virginia and New York, lawmakers are actually having these sorts of conversations, according to a CNET report.
In particular, the proposed legislation in pedestrian-centric New York is meant to curb what state Sen. Carl Kruger is calling "tuning in and tuning out." His push for such legislation stems from an incident in New York City where a 21-year-old iPod-listening pedestrian was killed by a large truck that backed into him. Presumably, the man couldn't hear the truck's warning beeps that it was in reverse.
It probably makes sense to issue some sort of ban on headphones for drivers who should be listening for the sounds of emergency vehicles. And it probably makes sense to extend something like that to bicyclists on public streets, as well, given that they're sharing the streets with cars and trucks. Bicyclists need to be extra alert.
But pedestrians? Sure, the accident in New York is a tragic example of what happens when people aren't paying attention. But it seems that that incident was an isolated one.
We're quick to blame technology for some of society's problems - but will a ticket of some sort teach people to pay attention to what they're doing? Probably not.
Pulling yourself out of a shopping mall fountain and being laughed out by millions who saw you fall into that fountain via a YouTube video probably was a more effective way of getting that person to pay closer attention when she's walking.
One thing is certain: You won't see me texting and walking near any fountains anytime soon.