We all know the dangers of texting and driving. And we know that drivers who text while they are driving can be held liable for any accident caused by their distracted driving.
But what about a person — someone not even in the car — who sends a text to someone who is driving? Can that so-called remote texter be held liable if the driver (the recipient of the message) causes a crash because he or she was distracted by reading the text?
Herndon car accident lawyer Doug Landau, himself a member of the bar in the state of New Jersey, noted with interest a recent New Jersey case in which an appeals court ruled YES. A remote texter sending a text from another location can be held liable for a crash if the sender of the text knew that the recipient would view the message while driving.
In this particular case, the texter was not held liable because it could not be shown that she knew that her friend would read the text while driving.
“It does raise an interesting question,” says Lawyer Landau. “Not texting while driving is a no-brainer. Of course, we should not engage in text messaging while operating a vehicle. But, what implications will this ruling have on the use of text messaging in general? Will texters be responsible for making sure the recipient of the message is not driving? Is it not the responsibility of the recipient of the message to refrain from looking at his or her phone while driving?”
What do you think?