Friday, August 30, 2013

Text A Driver! Get Sued!


A New Jersey court just gave an opinion that I find a bit disturbing.  We all know that texting and driving can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving.  Distracted drivers kills thousands per year thus a New Jersey judge recently stated the following:  “We hold that 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.”.

Seriously?  How is it the responsibility of the sender of a text message?  The courts are over stepping their bounds here. As a resident of the state of New Jersey, I require a deeper explanation here.  Am I liable if I send a Facebook instant message to a friend while he/she is driving?  Am I liable if I send an email to a friend while he/she is driving?   Online faxing services can be configured to send automated text messages to the recipient. Am I liable if I know that the recipient has this fax alert feature enabled and I knowingly send a fax to that person?  I have my Orbitz account configured to send me text alerts for flight status updates when I travel.  If Orbitz sends me a flight status update while I am driving to the airport, then can't we assume that Orbitz should have known or made a reasonable assumption that I would be driving during the receiving of these text messages.

I probably send text messages to people that I know are driving all of the time.  I make an assumption that they will read those messages when it is safe.  In New Jersey, I can't do that anymore.  What do you think?


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