Listening to iPod while crossing road may be banned

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For some, the lure of an MP3 player may be less about music and more about blotting out the world around them. But in New York, at least, the pause button could soon be pressed on this most modern of luxuries because someone has decided it's dangerous.

A member of the state Senate, Carl Kruger, has declared war on "iPod oblivion", introducing a draft law that would make it an offence for anyone to be plugged in when they are crossing the street, punishable with a $100 (£51) fine.

New Yorkers are getting used to such prohibitions. Most recently, its restaurants have been banned from using trans-fats, and smoking has been outlawed from New York's bars and clubs for five years.

Mr Kruger seems determined, noting that in recent months three people were killed in his district in Brooklyn in road accidents while listening on their headphones. "They are walking into speeding cars. They are walking into buses. They are walking into one another," Mr Kruger said.

His draft law has not yet been debated and it could face challenges from New Yorkers and civil rights groups. "What's next? Do you get fined if you don't look both says," asked E. Christopher Murray, a civil liberties lawyer.

A spokesman for Senator Kruger said that for most people it would only mean removing earphones at crossings. The ban would apply to all MP3 players, as well as mobile phones and BlackBerry devices.