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New Jersey town's police chief: No, we didn't ban texting while walking

Those of us prone to typing out text messages while walking down streets were ready to storm Fort Lee, N.J., with pitch forks, torches and protest signs on Monday morning. After all, there were reports that texting while walking was banned in the town — and that people caught doing so were fined.

But based on what Thomas Ripoli — chief of the Fort Lee Police Department — told, we should probably relax and remember that not everything we read on the Internet is always true. 

Ripoli, who'd been fielding calls from all over the world, says that discussion of his town's pedestrian safety was somehow taken out of context and that "things got out of hand." Folks who are texting while walking in Fort Lee are indeed issued a $54 jaywalking ticket ... but only if they also happen to be jaywalking at the same time.

Ripoli explains that Fort Lee saw three fatalities and more than 20 pedestrian accidents since the beginning of the year. In an effort to crack down on dangerous behavior while walking and prevent further accidents, the town's police department has started a safety education campaign, stopped more than 600 pedestrians and handed them pamphlets on the topic, and issued over 117 jaywalking tickets.

But not a single ticket so far — nor any in the foreseeable future —has been issued specifically for texting while walking.

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