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You Can Now Be Held Liable For Texting Someone Else While They Are Driving

you can now be held responsible for sending a text to someone while they are driving
Bruno Vincent, Getty Images

We’ve all heard it before: “No texting while driving.” Some of us live by the rule, while unfortunately, others literally die from failure to take heed to it. Deadly accidents can happen in a split second, and now; in addition to the neglectful texting drivers who cause the crash, the person they are texting with can now also be held responsible.

A New Jersey appeals court ruled Tuesday that when a driver is in an accident where texting and driving is involved, the person on the other end of the text message that caused the accident can now also be held liable for negligence in civil cases.

a person sending text messages has a duty not to text someone who is driving if the texter knows, or has special reason to know, the recipient will view the text while driving.

Yes, you heard right. If you knowingly text someone while they are driving, you can now be held responsible for damages, injuries or even worse. The decision goes onto say that when you are texting someone who you know is driving, you have “a relationship with the public who use the roadways similar to that of a passenger physically present in the vehicle.”

When the 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.

This decision stems from a 2009 incident where a teenager texted a friend right before he crashed his vehicle into a husband and wife on a motorcycle. The couple suffered serious injuries and sued both the driver and the friend he was texting. That specific claim was dismissed in court due to lack of evidence, but ruled that someone texting could be held liable if they were knowingly aware that the recipient of the text was driving.

I can understand the technical reasoning, but is it really fair to the person sending the text? Could a law like this open the floodgates for other people to be held responsible for things they aren’t directly involved in?

Do you think that knowingly texting someone while driving should hold you liable for anything that happens while they are on the road? Comment below!

[via CNN]

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