There has been campaigns and law reform to stop stop drivers from texting and driving. New Jersey appeals court has taken texting and driving law a step further with its recent addendum, if you knowingly text a person driving you will prosecuted if that person crashes.
A case from 2009 has lead to New Jersey appeals courts to pass this new law in the state. In 2009, Kyle Best was in an accident while texting his girlfriend Shannon Colonna. Seconds after responding to a text from her he was calling a 911 operator after drifting and crashing into David and Linda Kubert who were enjoying their afternoon for a motorcycle cruise.
The Kuberts lost both their legs due to the accident and sued Best for his carelessness. They did not only sue Best however they included Colonna in the lawsuit for texting her boyfriend while he was operating a vehicle. Initially they lost the case against Colonna but their attorney filed an appeal seeking justice against her.
This week they won their appeal when three appeal court judges ruled a sender is liable for an accident for texting a motorist.
The court explained its ruling: “We hold that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted.”
Colonna is free and clear however being no evidence proves she was aware that her boyfriend was driving during the accident. On the day of the accident they had exchanged 62 text messages but nothing to incriminate her knowledge of his where a bouts or actions at the time of the accident.
The new law has raised a lot of questions, one New Jersey resident Louise Mckellip said “Even talking to the driver can distract them, so they are going to arrest for someone who simply talked to someone who is driving?”
Best practice is to just now use your phone for any reason while operating a vehicle. In New Jersey even using your maps application in the car is illegal.