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Texting While Walking? You Could Pay The Price

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Lawmakers on Beacon Hill are trying to increase fines for people who jaywalk while checking their phones or listen to music
Ben Margot/AP
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171120_debrief_daniel_medwed_w_joe-final_for_web_.mp3

If death isn't enough of a deterrent, maybe a hit to the wallet will be. That's the thinking behind a bill proposed by State Representative Colleen Garry of Dracut that aims to increase fines for jaywalking if the person is checking their phone or listening to music.

The bill would increase jaywalking fines for people "using mobile electronic devices and/or using headphones, earbuds, or like devices." A first-time offense would land a $50 ticket, the fine for a second offense would be $100, and the fine for every subsequent offense would be $200.

If the legislation passes, Massachusetts would be the first state in the country to penalize texting while jaywalking.

WGBH Legal Analyst and Northeastern Law Professor Daniel Medwed tells Morning Edition that the bill aims to address a real problem but falls short of reaching a solution.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

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