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Lawmakers declare war on texting and walking

This Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011 photo shows a pedestrian walking while using a phone in New York. While smartphones and other electronic devices changed popular culture by offering an ability to always stay connected, it so swiftly turned into such a compelling need that a simple walk down the street is considered wasted time. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
This Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011 photo shows a pedestrian walking while using a phone in New York. While smartphones and other electronic devices changed popular culture by offering an ability to always stay connected, it so swiftly turned into such a compelling need that a simple walk down the street is considered wasted time. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)BEBETO MATTHEWS / AP

Enough already with the texting and walking into fountains. Enough already with pedestrians bumping into each other repeatedly and ignoring traffic. Two lawmakers in different states say they've had it with such foolishness. But one folded because of the angry e-mails he received. The other remains on the warpath.

Arkansas State Sen. Jimmy Jeffress' proposal would have banned pedestrians from wearing headphones in both ears while "on, parallel or adjacent to a street, road, intersection or highway," according to the Associated Press. "The measure also applies to runners and cyclists and would allow pedestrians to wear headphones in one ear."

"You might not get the full effect of the Boston Symphony Orchestra with one ear, but you at least will be aware of your surroundings," Jeffress told AP.

But angry reaction to the idea killed it before it even made it to the discussion stage.

Jeffress "acknowledged that he was backing away from the idea partly because of backlash from opponents of the ban," the AP reported Wednesday.

"I’ve had about half a dozen positive hits on it and ten times that many against it. That’s the thing,” Jeffress told the news organization. “I think it’s just time to let everybody know to quit e-mailing me."

Shame on him for folding, says New York State Sen. Carl Kruger. He's been trying since 2007 to get legislation passed to ban pedestrians' use of cell phones, iPods and other devices in the state's major cities. He's going to try again.

"It’s important to press the issue, because it’s an issue worthy of the pressure," Kruger told AP. "There is a definite, demonstrated need for this legislation."