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Wait, what?

Someone texting you while you’re driving may be held liable if you crash.

8 Responses to “Wait, what?”

  1. mikee Says:

    If they want me to be liable for doing something, they better make it possible for me to know I’m going to do it before I start doing something otherwise perfectly legal and safe.

    I want to be able to block my phone from transmitting to phones in vehicles, preferably, until the phone is not in a vehicle.

    I want to know if the person I am texting is driving or a passenger, and allow the text if it is sent to a passenger and block it to a driver.

    If jurors are going to make up law, as the case suggests they were doing, I’m gonna need a note saying I’m not violating any law to wave at them when they try to drag me into some mess not of my causing.

  2. Ken Says:

    Mikee, it does seem that the court came to the same conclusion. You could be held liable, but only if you knew or should have known that the person would read it while driving and be distracted. They made an analogy to holding you liable if, as a passenger, you waved papers in front of the driver’s face and urged them to read them. see http://www.volokh.com/2013/08/30/liability-texting-driver/ for a good analysis.

  3. nk Says:

    Sounds like a good law to me. Who should f***ing pay? The poor shnook you ran over?

  4. Geodkyt Says:

    What Ken said. They let the non-driving girlfriend off BECAUSE there was no evidence she knew her boyfriend (who crashed into the victims) was driving at the time.

  5. Lyle Says:

    I always figured I could text someone while they were driving because, like e-mail, they could read it later.

    But what if they need directions? I suppose we’ll have to ban GPS devices for the same reason.

    What if you get distracted reading your instrument panel for a second, and have an accident? We’ll have to hold the manufacturer of vehicle liable for wantonly installing an entire suite of distracting instruments and alarms– they even light them up at night, just begging you to take your eyes off the road.

  6. Kirk Parker Says:

    Ummm, people: SMS is a store-and-forward protocol. You have no way to know if your message is going to be delivered to the recipient while they are driving; indeed a message you actually sent while they *weren’t* could be delayed until there *where*.

    And if you’re not actually in the car with the recipient, or somewhere close enough to observe the car, you don’t really *know* they’re driving (as opposed to safely pulled over, etc.)

    There are just so many degrees of Fail built into this…

  7. Ian Argent Says:

    Soon to be complicated by speech to text and text to speech functionality, already in YOUR smartphone; meaning a voice conversation little different from a voice call at either end is transported as text.

  8. Metulj Says:

    Civil stuff in this NJ law, but, as I can attest from experience, if you pick up your phone and even look at the damn thing while you are on the road and in your drivers seat in NJ, you will get a ticket. I got my ass chewed by the traffic judge (I was forced to go to court because I had 2 points on my license for blocking the box in NYC).