The town of Fort Lee, New Jersey, has begun issuing tickets to people caught walking and texting after some 20 people have been struck by cars since the start of 2012.

"It's a big distraction," Police Chief Thomas Ripoli told reporters. "Pedestrians aren't watching where they're going. They're not aware."

The new ordinance is part of a larger crackdown on jaywalking within the borough. 117 jaywalkers have been ticketed over the past two months; each ticket carries an $85 fine.


"It's all about trying to improve safety and make sure we reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities," said Capt. Keith Bendul.


Residents told Fox 5 News they will pay the fine if ticketed, but probably won't stop texting while walking.

UPDATE: Chief Thomas Ripoli clarified today that people caught texting and walking will only be fined "if they also happen to be jaywalking at the same time." Beyond that there is no ban on texting while walking at this time.