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Source: NT News

OMG. Jst got fined 4 walking & texting

The NT Police Facebook posting

NT POLICE have warned people they could be fined $150 for texting on their mobile phones - while walking.

Under a Facebook post titled "Texting pedestrians - a match not made in heaven", NT Police said people who "engage with their gadgets" while walking might run into poles, other people or trip over the footpath.

"NT Police can even charge people for 'Walk without due care' in certain situations," the post said.

Under Traffic Regulation 18, the fine for walking without due care is $150.

A large sign accompanied the post with the slogan: "Pay attention while walking, your Facebook status update can wait".

One US town was already fining people $54 for crossing the road while texting, police said.

They fear pedestrians not paying attention might be hit by cars while crossing the road.

"In a nutshell, put your phone away when near or crossing roads," police say.

Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman said the threat of a fine for walking and texting was ridiculous.

But crossing the road while texting was a legitimate road safety issue, worthy of a fine.

"Police powers are highly discretionary and have to be exercised in a fair and commonsense way," he said.

The head of the Territory's peak motoring body, AANT general manager Edon Bell, said fines were taking things too far.

"I don't know how they'd plan on policing it," he said.

"It's not really high on the agenda of road safety issues."

But Mr Bell said people should take due care when crossing roads.

"It's not a good idea to cross the road while paying attention to your mobile and not to your surroundings," he said.

Mr Bell said a more pressing concern was people using their mobiles while driving, with 951 fines issued to distracted drivers in the past financial year.

Motorists caught handling a mobile while driving can be fined $250.

In the Territory, it is illegal to handle a mobile while driving but talking on a hands-free phone is allowed.

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