Can you be held responsible for sending a text? A judge in Morris County ruled that when texting while driving causes an accident, the person who sent the text cannot be held liable, as reported by the Star-Ledger.
Shannon Colonna was not held liable for the 2009 accident which left David and Linda Kubert amputees after Kyle Best, then 18, struck the couple while they were riding their motorcycle. Best was replying to a text message from Colonna when he caused the accident. The Kuberts’ lawyer argued that Colonna was “virtually present” in the crash and “may have known” that he was driving. They argued that Colonna should be responsible for “aiding and abetting” Best in the crash.
The case is the first of its kind in the state. The closest case previously was Durkee v. Jett in which a federal judge in North Carolina dismissed a products liability claim when a tractor-trailer hit a car because the driver was allegedly distracted by a text from the dispatcher.
New Jersey forbids handheld cell phone use for all drivers, and has a blanket ban on texting while driving. Furthermore, novice drivers are banned from all cell phone use (both handheld and hands-free).
In dismissing the case, according to the Wall Street Journal, the judge cited multiple other distractions that drivers face today in addition to texting. Phone calls, GPS devices, large billboards, radio, infotainment systems, even other passengers all pose distractions to drivers.
Do you think agree with the Morris County Judge’s decision? Should Colonna be held responsible in any way or is it solely the driver’s responsibility to maintain focus on the road despite the growing number of distractions? We’d love to hear your opinion.
Vreeland Insurance is your community’s insurance solution. We provide a wide array of insurance programs, including individual car insurance, to the Rockaway area — or just about anywhere in Northern New Jersey. Contact us today for more information.