By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Who’s responsible for texting and driving? You’ll be surprised.
A 17-year-old New Jersey girl was texting with her 18-year-old boyfriend – sixty one times to be exact – while her boyfriend was driving. While reading text number sixty two, the boyfriend crossed the center lane and hit two people on a motorcycle, each of whom lost a leg. The victims sued, and settled, a case against the driver. Then they went after his texting partner.
The case was initially tossed out by the trial court which found that it was the driver’s responsibility not to respond. But on appeal, the higher court found that when a texter knows that the recipient is driving, the texter has a duty to users of the public roads to refrain from sending the driver a text at that time.
Now the court found that there wasn’t enough proof that the girl in this case knew that her boyfriend would read the text while driving. And since the case was based on New Jersey law, that standard doesn’t necessarily apply to drivers in other states. That said, where one court makes a ruling, others tend to follow.
Also, if you know a friend is driving, text later. Or find another friend to text. Or get some fresh air. Or you risk not only your friend’s safety but your wallet.