New Jersey Courts Say Non-Drivers Responsible for Distracted Driving
Thinking about sending a text message to someone who is behind the wheel? Think again.
Drivers texting and emailing from behind the wheel are of course responsible for accidents, injury and property damage they cause. But what about the people who are sending them those texts and emails?
In the first New Jersey case of its kind, the New Jersey Appellate Division has ruled that those texting and emailing people they know or should know are driving should be held legally responsible for any and all accident related damage. In doing so, the Court ruled:
“When the sender knows that the text will reach the driver while operating a vehicle, the sender has a relationship to the public who use the roadways similar to that of a passenger physically present in the vehicle.”
The Court also found that, like the vehicle’s driver, “the texter has a duty to users of the public roads and must refrain from sending the driver a text” when they know or have reason to know the driver is on the road and required to keep their attention on DRIVING.
As a supporter of the New Jersey Association for Justice’s End Distracted Driving Campaign and EndDistractedDriving.Org, I applaud the Court’s progressive ruling. The ruling provides important protection to drivers and pedestrians holding all those responsible for preventable accidents for senseless injuries and death. It also sends a message to us all that distracted driving is dangerous and could end in serious consequences.
To read the full opinion of the New Jersey Appellate Court, click HERE.