New Jersey Court Rules That Person Sending Text To Driver Not Responsible For Car Accident
On May 25, 2012, in a case of first impression meaning that had not decided the issue before in New Jersey, a Court in Morris Superior Court ruled that a young woman who was texting a driver at the time of the accident was not liable legally for the accident which occurred because the driver was distracted.
The case has tragic facts: a 21 year old driver had just left his job as a lifeguard at a local YMCA and was driving home. He was in a pick up truck and was texting a 17 year old girl he was friends with. The 21 year driver was distracted and crossed the double yellow line and hit a motorcycle which a husband and wife were riding. Incredibly both the husband and wife each lost a leg in the accident.
The Court found that to extend liability to the girl sending the text would expand liability too far. Since she was not present in the car or even near it, she had no way to determine the actions of the driver. This case may be appealed to the New Jersey Appellate Division Court because it is highly likely that the girl knew that sending repeated texts to someone she likely knew was driving posed a foreseeable risk that an accident would occurr.
Regardless of the court outcome, no one can dispute that texting while driving is very dangerous.