On August 27, 2013, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, decided that “the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting.” However, the sender of the text message had to know or have a “special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted.” Kupert v. Best, Docket No. A-1128-12T4. In this case, Linda and David Kupert were seriously injured by an 18 year old driver who crossed the center divider crashing his truck into their motorcycle. The 18 year old driver was texting at the time. The crash “nearly severed, David’s left leg” and it “shattered Linda’s left leg, leaving her fractured thighbone protruding out of the skin as she lay injured in the road.”
The cell phone records of the 18 year old boy showed that he had texted his female friend 62 times on the day of the crash. They averaged about “fourteen texts per hour.” The New Jersey Appellate court said: “When a sender texts a person who is then driving, knowing that the driver will immediately view the text, the sender has disregarded the attendant and foreseeable risk of harm to the public. The risk is substantial, as evidenced by the dire consequences in this and similar cases where texting drivers have caused severe injuries or death.”
What do you all think about extending liability to persons sending text messages to those they know are driving? Please share your thoughts.
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