But who is really responsible when someone is texting while driving? Is it just the person receiving the text, behind the wheel or can the person who sent the text also be liable?
A New Jersey judge has decided that the woman who was texting her boyfriend while he was driving cannot be held liable for the crash he caused. Two people on a motorcycle were seriously injured, each losing a leg in the collision caused by his distracted driving. However, the judge said that since the woman who was texting the driver had no way of knowing he was driving at the time, or when he might answer the texts she was sending him, she cannot possibly be responsible.
This is the first such case to be tried in the United States will no doubt act as a precedent for any other cases which are filed. And it does seem likely more cases will eventually be filed as more incidents of distracted driving are happening every day and law enforcement officers and the judicial system are becoming overwhelmed with the effort to convince drivers to get their eyes off their devices and onto the road ahead of them.
Last year, for the first time on record, driving under the influence of alcohol was not the leading cause of traffic fatalities. That dubious honor went to distracted driving which prompted law enforcement officers and legislators to crack down on folks who don’t know better than to look where they are going while driving.
The driver responsible for the New Jersey crash in question was ordered to speak at 14 high schools about the dangers of texting and driving and had to pay about $775 in fines, but his driver’s license was not suspended.