I Tend to Think of it as Natural Selection
Don't parents teach their children at a very young age to look both ways before cross the street? Not to sound too insensitive (Really, it's terrible to lose someone you love), but maybe some people missed that. Even if you forgot that lesson, they have lighted signs that tell you when you can and can't cross the street.
CNN just posted this story that New York may ban the use of gadgets while crossing the street. The report states that three people in Brooklyn were killed by motorists after being distracted by their cell phones or iPods while crossing the street.
I can understand banning them while you drive. If you're not paying attention while driving, not only can you hurt yourself but you can also make your vehicle a bulldozer of sorts. But banning them while you walk? Other than these extreme cases which are generally rare, the worst you'll probably do is walk into a light post which will probably hurt your pride more than your face.
Surely we don't need the government to protect us from this. They need worry about protecting us from terrorism, global warming and the energy crisis, not slapping us on the hand when we walk across the street listening to music. I'll go out on a limb and say that there are less people dying from crossing the street while playing on their PSP or other gadget of choice than heart disease, cancer or even murder. Lets get those under control first, people...
Though this does shed new light on the phrase "walk and chew gum."