The front of this morning's Sun online screeches out a warning:
MUSIC fans may face a FINE if they're caught crossing the road while listening to their iPods
Surely, you wonder, the paper isn't trying to pass off a four day-old news story about a plan in New York to outlaw any sort of audio distraction while crossing the road as a new story about the UK, are they?
That's exactly what Ian Hepburn - "crime writer" - is trying to do:
Britain could be set to follow New York, where safety-conscious senator Carl Kruger is tabling a bill to outlaw so-called “distracted walking”.
Hepburn doesn't bother to point out the law targets bluetooth headsets, other mp3 players, Walkmans and crossing the road singing "la la la" with your hands over your ears. But far more interesting anyway, of course, is his real discovery that "Britain could be set" to follow New York.
(Not, of course, that New York has actually done anything yet.)
So, what has Kruger discovered? Oddly, nothing at all - he talks to ROSPA, who don't ask for fines but just suggest you turn your players down while crossing the road. And Labour MP Stephen Pound is given a chance to comment, but far from suggesting that the government is poised to follow the lead of New York, he makes it clear its not likely to happen:
(Actually, Stephen, it's more the walking, looking and listening that's at issue here.)
So, there's no indication of anyone even thinking of suggesting we consider introducing such a ban in the UK. Admittedly, Kruger isn't lying - Britain could be set to follow New York's lead, in exactly the same way that Mariah Carey could try to study law at Harvard, or I could try and declare myself King of Bavaria.