Australians could be stung $200 for looking at their phone while crossing roads

The Pedestrian Council of Australia wants a nationwide ban on any form of digital distraction while crossing the road, an initiative not unlike one that is gaining momentum in New York City.

It would see not only see Australians fined for using their phones while crossing the road, but also for simply just looking at their screens.

Harold Scruby of the Pedestrian Council of Australia is fighting for the nationwide offence.

“I want any form of distraction. Texting, phoning, looking at the screen, or with noise cancelling headphones,” Mr Scruby told Nine News.

A similar initiative fronted by New York Senator John Liu is being pushed in the New York state senate.

Mr Liu would like to see people fined between $25-50 US dollars for first time offending, $50 to $100 if caught a second time in 18 months and up to $250 for a third offence if caught within 18 months of the second penalty.

“Any monetary penalty is enough to make pedestrians think twice,” said Mr Liu.

“We’re not trying to hit people with tremendous fines here in New York city this is really a reminder - ‘hey be careful’.”

Mr Scruby thinks fines at that number are a joke and if it were to happen in Australia he would like to see people hit with $200 fines on the spot every time they’re caught.

“I mean no police officer is going to issue a fine for $25,” Mr Scruby said.