Texting While Driving—People Knowingly Texting to Drivers, Not Just Texting Drivers, May Be Liable

Texting while driving is dangerous, even fatal.

UW Medicine’s Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center reports:

Motor vehicle injuries remain the leading cause of death for Americans under 35, and distracted driving is one of the biggest risk factors.

•    An estimated 28% of crash risk is attributed to cell phone use or texting.

•    Texting while driving increases crash risk by 23 times—that’s like driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.19

In Washington the focus has largely been on the texting drivers themselves.

  • State law prohibits drivers from sending, reading or writing a text message while driving.
  • Washington drivers face a fine of $124 for texting anyways.
  • Numerous campaigns seek to bring awareness to drivers.

Despite these efforts nearly half of Washington’s distracted drivers are still texting.

The lack of solution begs the question—who else is contributing to the problem?

In jurisdictions like New Jersey the answer is now people knowingly texting to a driver—not just the driver.

The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division held that liability may attach to a person who sends a text to someone he or she knows is driving a motor vehicle and will immediately read the text, if the driver then loses control of the vehicle and causes injury. (Kubert v. Best, 2013 WL 4512313 (N.J. Super. App. Div. Aug. 27, 2013).

When there’s a serious accident and there’s not enough insurance coverage to go around it’s important to hire a lawyer who has the imagination and creativity to find other sources of recovery.

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