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New Jersey Appeals Court – Do Not Text Drivers

Destiny Baker3 years ago

CNN reports a New Jersey state appeals court ruled that a person may be held liable for an accident if they knowingly text a driver and that driver is consequently involved in an accident.

Background to the Do Not Text Drivers Decision

  • Four years ago, Kyle Best, 18, was texting his girlfriend Shannon Colonna, 17.
  • While sending a text, Best drifted across the median and collided with a motorcycle carrying David Kubert and his wife Linda.
  • Both David and Linda Kubert suffered severe injuries, and both lost their left leg as a result of the accident.
  • The Kuberts sued both Best and Colonna claiming Colonna knew Best was driving and should be treated as someone in the vehicle willfully distracting him.

New Jersey State Appeals Court Rules Texting A Driver Can Lead to Liability

“We hold that if 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” – Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division as published by CNN.

  • The appeals court ruled that a person may be held liable in an accident if they text a person with the knowledge that the recipient is currently operating a vehicle.
  • Colonna was not held liable as it was ruled that, though she was texting Best at the time of the accident, she was not aware that he was driving.
  • The accident played a part in the writing of New Jersey’s Kulesh, Kubert and Bolish’s Law which states an individual who is found to be texting leading up to an accident may be punished with a fine of up to $150,000 and a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
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