I don't believe it is much of a surprise that a New Jersey Judge has ruled that someone sending a text to another who is driving and then involved in a collision may be held responsible to the injured victims. I say that because most judges want to see legal precedent before establishing a new duty or set of rules for society to follow. The duty or rules usually come from the legislature, not the bench.
If we flash forward 20 years, I think we will see laws in place that speak to this very fact scenario. We're just not there yet as a society. I tell people all the time the law moves very slowly. The example I use is that dust mites move faster than legislators or the law.
The simple facts of the case in New Jersey are: Kyle Best was driving his pickup when he crossed the center line striking David and Linda Kubert on their motorcycle. Mr. and Mrs. Kubert each lost a leg. The cause of the collision is still a fact question for the jury. Cell phone records indicate Mr. Best was communicating by text with his girlfriend, Ms. Colonna.
The sad outcome of the case to date: Two innocent victims will live the rest of their lives without a leg because of the selfish acts of people texting one another. Why? What did Mr. and Mrs. Kubert do to deserve a life sentence without a leg?
The evidence in the case thus far shows that on the date of the collision, the teenagers sent 62 texts to one another. Colonna testified before being a defendant in the case that she texts because she's a teenager and that's what teenagers do. Again, the question. What text from or among teenagers is so special or important that innocent victims should suffer through a life sentence of pain and suffering?
I hope I live to see laws passed and legal precedent to support the claims of the non-present texter. Our civil system works to allow the evidence to be presented as to whether the texter knew or should have known that the text receiver was driving or operating machinery at the time of the collision. If the texter knew or should have known that receiving texts would be dangerous to innocent victims then I say we should allow liability to be found against the texter.
Only remaining question today for me on this issue, would insurance apply to the texter and if so would it be homeowner's coverage?
Drive Safe – XTHATXT
Say No to Distracted Driving