September 6, 2013
A new case from New Jersey is making headlines, not just holding that a person can be responsible for any damages caused by the distraction of texting while driving. In a first of its kind, the New Jersey court said if you are the person texting the driver, you, too, can be responsible.
The longer explanation is that a person who engages a driver in a texting conversation is distracting the driver, because the sender should realize it’s human nature to read the text immediately. What this means is that your phone records from the texting service provider will likely be obtained in the event of a wreck. Law enforcement personnel have also seized phones as evidence. That includes the remote texter’s phone.
In case of a wreck, you will likely get a letter telling you to preserve your phone messages. Deleting those messages, or spoilation of evidence, as it’s known in the law, could result in an instruction from a judge to a jury that the jury can assume you had something to hide.
Nearly two years ago, our office launced a driving program. This case highlights the number of text messages out there. There, a young teenager and driver texted each other 62 times before the wreck.
The message we all need to take away is that texting and driving is a serious safety issue. Don’t drive and text, and don’t engage a driver in texting. You may end up paying for it, if you do.
For more information about this case or the hazards of texting and driving, or if you would like someone to speak to your class or group on this important safety issue, you are invited to call 888-HURTLAW and we’ll be happy to assist.
Ira Edsel Branham
Accident and injury attorney