Text a Driver in N.J., You Could be Liable
Photo: MGN Online
A New Jersey court says a person who knowingly sends a text to a driver can share liability if the driver causes an accident.
Tuesday's ruling came in the case of a couple severely injured when their motorcycle was hit by a teenager who was texting while driving in 2009.
The injured couple settled their lawsuit against the driver for $500,000. They also sued his girlfriend, who sent him a text message.
The appeals court says someone who texts a motorist can potentially be liable if the sender knew the recipient would view the text while driving.
Nevertheless, the judges upheld a lower court ruling that dismissed the lawsuit against the girlfriend. The court says the couple didn't show evidence that the girl knew her boyfriend was driving or would look at her text.
Minnesota is one of 41 states with a texting and driving ban. It’s illegal for drivers to read, compose or send text messages and emails or access the Internet using a wireless device while driving, including while stopped in traffic or at a stoplight.
Cell phone use is banned completely for bus drivers and for teen drivers during their permit and provisional license stages.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.