Lawmakers Hear Proposal to Ban Distracted Walking at Rail Crossings

(KCPW News) Utah lawmakers heard a proposal by the Utah Transit Authority yesterday to outlaw distractions for pedestrians who are crossing railroad tracks. UTA General Counsel Bruce Jones described the proposed bill to a legislative committee, explaining it would limit the use of electronic devices at crossings.

“I assure you again that our purpose in this is not to be able to cite people for careless walking,” he said. “It is to bring public awareness, to bring it as part of the culture that people are more safe around railroad crossings.”

Utah has seen a surge in TRAX-related accidents with vehicles and pedestrians in recent months, leading UTA to adopt an ordinance against distracted walking on its platforms, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

But if the reaction of lawmakers like Republican Representative Craig Frank is any indication, the legislature isn’t the least inclined to ban distracted walking in state law.

“I’ll just say it: I think this is stepping way out of bounds. I’m not going to hold back here. You can’t legislate ‘stupid,'” said Frank.

Democratic Senator Karen Mayne of West Valley City, who planned to sponsor the bill, said she intends to work on the proposal and bring it back to the committee.