Contrary to reports flooding the internet today, Philadelphia is not about to start fining pedestrians $120 for texting while walking.
Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler today said that the city’s “Give Respect, Get Respect” campaign targeted at cyclists, motorists and pedestrians will include educational brochures for pedestrians, but no fines.
“It is not a crime to text and walk. It is dangerous, but not a crime. The only violation that comes close is jaywalking and no one is giving out tickets for jaywalking,” said Cutler.
A variety of news outlets today, including Gawker.com, reported that the city was poised to start handing out $120 fines for texting pedestrians. Cutler said the city is about to step up enforcement of fines for cyclists and motorists guilty of moving violations or code violations.
Mayoral Spokesman Mark McDonald let loose on Gawker over their report, according to a message they posted on the site. According to Gawker, McDonald wrote: "Your whack job reporter can spin his puerile fantasies about doing violence to people he does not like, but he first needs to get his facts straight."
And Mayor Nutter himself debunked the reports over Twitter this morning, saying: "It is NOT illegal to text and walk in Philly. You will NOT be fined. You will NOT be ticketed."