If a state senator from my home borough has his way, New York City and Buffalo police officers might soon be telling iPod users "Fuggeddaboutit!" if they try to cross the street while listening to music. Sen. Carl Kruger of Brooklyn, in response to two recent pedestrian deaths, has proposed legislation that would make iPod-crossing a minor offense comparable to jaywalking.
I'm a native New Yorker -- when I was a kid, we lived right across the street from a police station -- and I have never, ever seen anybody ticketed for jaywalking, so I'm thinking that even if this proposal were to become law the day-to-day impact would be unnoticeable. Of course, we do have an iPod Zombie problem in the Big Apple, but it's generalized to all sorts of portable devices. I once grabbed a guy who was about to walk in front of a delivery truck while he was focused, head down, on dialing his RAZR; he actually thanked me, another NYC rarity.
Perhaps, instead of criminalizing stupidity (which rarely works), a targeted PR campaign on the subways could remind iPod users to "turn down & tune in" while they navigate the mean streets. Anyone want to design the poster? Link it in the comments or post on Flickr, give it a Creative Commons license and tag it 'turndowntunein' -- if there are a few that stand out, I'll try to get them noticed by NYC officials.