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May 22nd, 2012
08:20 PM ET

Landmark case: sued for texting drivers?

The texting while driving case that could be a game-changer for this country.  A New Jersey judge is expected to decide this week whether a woman who sent text messages to her boyfriend, whom she knew was driving at the time can be sued for contributing to the crash he caused while texting her back. The two motorcyclists he hit each lost a leg.

Texting while driving is illegal in 34 states, including New Jersey, and people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash, according to a Virginia Tech study.

CNN's Deborah Feyerick spoke to the victims in this case.


Filed under: Law
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Dan Levy

    And the verdict is in. According to the recent NJ Appellate Division ruling, a person could be liable if the send a text to someone who is driving IF they know that the driver will likely read it while driving and get distracted. Check out my blog post for a full write-up on this interesting case: http://www.raffandraff.com/2013/08/29/sending-texts-to-drivers-could-expose-you-to-a-lawsuit/

    August 29, 2013 at 11:23 am | Reply
  2. oddjob2234

    This offloading of responsibility for bad driving onto convenient secondary scapegoat causes has got to stop. Who was driving that vehicle? The boyfriend was, not someone else!

    The whole phenomenon of blaming secondary causes rather than the actual incompetent driving is absolutely disgusting. If that man had NOT been texting, and caused this crash, it would NOT be less of an offense, and those bikers legs would NOT have been saved.

    When you get behind the wheel, you MUST avoid distractions that keep you from driving safely. Such things vary by individuals – this point is absolutely beyond dispute. We need to stop blaming secondary causes and start placing the blame where it belongs, on the driver, period and without excuses.

    May 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Reply
  3. Rob

    If the judge finds in favor of the complainant people will no longer be responsible for their actions. This should really be a no brainer. Would a reasonable, prudent person respond to a text behind the wheel? To answer 'yes' to that question would be to redefine the terms "reasonable" and "prudent". Let's be VERY clear here... this gentleman's action of sending a text message directly contributed to the crash. The receipt of a message did NOT. To claim otherwise would require legal gymnastics and contortions the likes of which Johnny Cochran couldn't even comprehend.

    Now, to play devil's advocate, I suppose one could conceivably argue that he would not have sent a text had he not received one in the first place. There are two serious flaws with that argument, though. The first is that it's purely speculative. The type of person who would compulsively respond to a text message while driving would probably also tweet about the idiot driver who just cut him off while chatting on his cell phone. The second is that it assumes that this gentleman had no free will or self-control. The latter may very well be true, in which case he had no business being out without adult supervision.

    May 23, 2012 at 9:49 am | Reply
  4. thetruckinglife

    if you know someone is driving i would have to agree it's a bad idea to text them.
    even a couple seconds of distraction is deadly.
    not sure what the speed limit is where the accident occurred but even at 30mph a vehicle travels 44ft per second so how many seconds does it take to send a text while driving?
    3? 132ft
    6? 264ft
    if you receive a text while driving and your only going across town why not wait till you reach your destination to reply?
    or maybe you have someone riding with you have them answer it.
    i mean really, if you texting while behind the wheel then who is driving or operating the vehicle?
    at 60 mph just multiply the numbers above by 2.
    have a nice ride and be safe.

    May 22, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Reply

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