Distracted driving has been a problem since the advent of automobiles. Distracted driving is when the driver takes his or hers eyes from the road to focus on something else. Throughout the years, the reasons for those distractions have changed with the times from, fussing with children and radios to swatting insects, eating and most recently texts and GPS devices.
The use of cell phones and texting while driving has led to many deaths and is considered the leader in distracted driving issues today. Texting and cell phone use takes a lot of brain power. It takes more than a few seconds to type out or even speak a message to someone else. It is a big distraction, especially while traveling at 45 + miles per hour.
Laws across the country have been developed to severely limit or even ban texting and driving. The effectiveness of these laws is addressed daily across the country wherever they are in place. In jurisdictions without these laws, the issues are building and pressure is high to take measures.
New Jersey is ahead of the game. They have recently enacted policies that have the potential to greatly widen the number of possible liable parties in a distracted driving incident. These new mandates can stretch liability all the way to someone who isn’t even in the car at the time of the accident, someone who may even be at home on their own couch.
A New Jersey appeals court upheld the liability of a person who knowingly sends text messages to a person they know is driving and that person is involved in an accident while texting them. Upholding those ideals can open the door for further cases involving people not in the car.
In this particular instance, the texter was not held liable because she sent group messages to up to 100 people per day and could not know when a message recipient was driving. The court made clear, however, that in future cases the texter could be held responsible and they planned to go that extra step and begin holding others responsible for damages in distracted driving accidents.
There are two sides to this fence. On one side it is beneficial to be able to hold passengers and others who are clearly responsible for distracting a driver to an accident. The other side is that courts and lawyers are simply looking for more people to draw money from.
While every feels distracted drivers should be held accountable for their actions, some feel there are more than one responsible party at times. The future is still uncertain in this legislation. There is much yet to come as this issue changes with the times.
Moseley Collins is a knowledgeable attorney with experience in distracted driving cases. Call today for a free consultation and allow Mr. Collins to use his experience and expertise in this ever-changing area of law to ensure you retrieve full compensation for a car accident involving a distracted driver.