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Published On: 9.1.2013 Charlotte, NC

Text Senders Beware

On behalf of Charles G. Monnett III & Associates

 

Text senders beware!

On August 27, 2013, New Jersey Superior Court judges held as to the following:

(1) “as matter of first impression, [the] sender of a text message, who is texting from a location remote from the driver of a motor vehicle, can potentially be liable if vehicular accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that driver would view the text while driving and thus be distracted,” and

(2) “evidence failed to establish liability of sender to the occupants of vehicle on the basis of sender’s aiding and abetting driver’s negligent driving while using cell phone.”

If this law is adopted in North Carolina, it could change the manner by which you communicate with your peers. Although there are evidentiary barriers in proving a case under this scenario, the risk of liability for a text sender is likely to alter behavior to some extent.

How do you suppose such law will affect you as a cell phone user? Will you hesitate before you send a text message now? How will your expectations as to text-based communications change? The next time you send a text message, will you think, “I wonder if he/she is driving?”

If you have any thoughts on this New Jersey holding, such as whether or not the law should be adopted in North Carolina or other states, feel free to comment below.