Texting while driving is a dumb idea. Sometimes it has serious consequences: consequences that go far beyond hastily written messages and rogue autocorrect. But in a New Jersey ruling that seems to legally require psychic abilities, people may now be held liable for sending a text to someone who is driving.
As the Verge reported yesterday, “According to a just-released opinion from a New Jersey court of appeals, someone who sends a text message to another person can be held liable for a texting-related accident so long as the sender was aware that the message’s recipient was behind the wheel.”
Typically, when texting someone, the first question isn’t “R U driving?” If it is, it’s probably because the person being texted is a racecar driver and his wife is double checking that he made it to work.
Though the ruling isn’t actual law, it purports to set a precedent for future lawsuits. Apparently it’s not enough to be able to sue someone for his own failure to exercise basic self-restraint.
The court rationalizes the decision by stating that the texts are distracting. If that’s the case, then the court should also assign liability to confusing street signs, annoying talk radio morning shows and screaming toddlers.
Let this be a warning: don’t text and drive… or text someone who is driving. Actually, let’s stop texting altogether. It’ll be much less distracting to Facebook message, Snapchat, tweet, email or call.