Dangers of Texting a Driver

Dangers of Texting and DrivingOn August 27, 2013, a New Jersey appeals court held that people have a duty not to send text messages to someone who they know is driving and likely to read the text. This means, in theory, that if you are texting a person who you know is driving, and you also know or should know that the recipient is reading or responding to your texts, you can potentially be held civilly liable if they cause a crash as a result. The Court likened the situation to being a passenger in a car and deliberately distracting the driver.

What is the effect of this ruling?

Right now, the ruling only exists as a possible theory of liability, meaning that it is a way to sue someone or be sued. The criminal laws relating to texting and driving have not changed in New Jersey or Pennsylvania as a result of the ruling. And keep in mind that the texter in this case was actually found not to be liable for the crash (the court found that she had no reason to know the recipient was driving). The ruling simply says that may be possible, under the laws of New Jersey, to hold a texter civilly liable for some or all of the damages caused when they know that their texts are distracting a driver.

ARTICLE: Read the full ruling here.

Does this ruling affect Pennsylvania?

Not yet. It is, however, a novel idea from a sister state that will likely be closely examined by Pennsylvania courts.

It’s their fault for reading the message!

Very true. The ruling does not remove responsibility from the driver for reading the texts or allowing themselves to become distracted. It does, however, spread the liability around by allowing for more than just the driver to be held responsible for any injuries or damages they cause.

Lead by example, do not text and drive. Join the campaign to stop distracted driving, you can not take back the split second after the accident occurred.

Posted on December 19, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Dangers of Texting a Driver.

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