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  (Source: Bekah Walker)
If it is proven you knew the subject was driving, you can be taken to court by victims for damages

In an era where some feel personal responsibility is being thrown to the wayside, an East Coast court has opened a whole new can of worms in the distracted driving debate, arguing that if you text someone -- even if you are not driving -- you may be held responsible for that person's crimes.

I. Court: Text a Driver in a Crash, and you Could Face Penalties

In a ruling [PDF] that many New Jersey residents feel is overstretching and out-of-touch, a three-judge panel at the Superior Court of New Jersey's Appellate Division ruled that in some cases you can be held civilly liable under distracted driving statutes if the person you text commits a vehicular crime, i.e. hitting someone or damaging property.

The court writes that in cases where a person has a "special reason" to know they're driving:

[T]he texter has a duty to users of the public roads to refrain from sending the driver a text at that time.

When the sender knows that the text will reach the driver while operating a vehicle, the sender has a relationship to the public who use the roadways similar to that of a passenger physically present in the vehicle.

Josh Rose
Josh Rose -- don't text any drivers or you might wind up paying big. [Image Source: Sony]

Based on this ruling it appears that the court's opinion indicates that if you text someone and there's no evidence that you knew they were driving, you won't be held liable.  But if, for example, police get ahold of a transcript of your chat and it indicates that the driver mentioned they were on the road, you may be held civilly liable.

II. New Laws Could Introduce Prison Time for Texting Drivers

What's more, it's important to consider that the ruling could both extend to other types of distracted driving and even lead to potential criminal penalties, such as time in prison.

Current distracted driving efforts largely started as campaigns to increase civil liability.  As these efforts received public support, states began to roll out criminal penalties as well; for instance the State of New Jersey in 2012 passed a law that equated causing an injury while texting to driving while greatly intoxicated (some studies have shown that driving while texting is more dangerous than driving drunk).  The new law allows the state to fine texting drivers up to $150,000 USD and put them in prison for up to 10 years.

Future laws could send those who text drivers to prison. [Image Source: Getty Images]

Eventually similar -- but likely lesser punishments -- could creep into state criminal codes if you text a driver.  Such a possibility may so extraordinary, but remember the U.S. imprisons more of its population than any other country in the world (officially, at least).

In New Jersey a pending law proposed by state Sen. James Holzapfel (R) would make it legal for a police officer to seize your phone without warrant and order you to unlock it in criminal and traffic investigations.  While the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is fighting the law, some fear it may pass.

Given the appeal's court's ruling, this could spell trouble not only for drivers, but for those not even in the car as well.  For example, if a police seizure of your chat history shows you knew you were texting a driver who caused a deadly accident, you might find yourself sent to prison for 2 or 3 years.

Likewise many distracted driving statutes are now covering other things -- people talking to the driver, food in the car, etc.  Cities in Ohio and South Dakota have passed ordinances against eating or drinking on the road.  While officers insist they won't ticket you for merely taking a bite of food if you're driving safely, they have significant leeway to ratchet up your ticket if you get in an accident while eating.

Distracted eating
Some cities already outlaw "distracted eating".  If a passenger distracts a driver with appetizing food smells, should they faces hundreds of thousands in fines if the driver crashes?
[Image Source: SFAppeal]

Similar provisions could apply eventually to passengers eating in the car.  (e.g. A city passes a statute prohibiting passengers from distracting a hungry driver by eating food, a person gets in a crash and a cop tickets their passenger as well because they have a burger and fries in their lap.)

III. Couple in the Case Scored $500,000 USD from Driver, but Lose Suit Against His Texting GF

The case under dispute in New Jersey is a pretty sad story.  It involves husband and wife David and Linda Kubert who were out on a motorcycle ride in Morris County when an 18-year-old motorist driving a pickup truck veered over the line while texting, striking the couple.

Truck v. Motorcycle
The couple injured were riding their motorcycle when the texter's truck crossed the center line.
[Image Source: The Express Times]

The motorist -- Kyle Best -- stopped, but the damage was already done.  Both the husband and wife suffered serious lower body injuries; both lost legs.

Stephen "Skippy" Weinstein, a top local attorney, represented the couple in court.  He helped them sue Mr. Best, who eventually settled for $500,000 USD.  But more surprisingly he also sued Mr. Best's girlfriend, Shannon Colonna, who was the person who sent him the fateful text that cops believed triggered the lane departure, arguing in court that her texts made it as if she had an electronic presence in the car and was there distracting the driver.

Court records showed that Ms. Colonna -- 17 at the time -- sent her boyfriend 62 texts per day on average, and sent approximately 100 texts total daily to her friends.  The contents of the couple's texts -- including the messages on the day of the accident -- were sealed by the courts.  In a deposition she called the attorney's pursuit of whether she "knew" that Mr. Best was driving "weird".  Asked why she texted in her deposition she commented, "I'm a young teenager. That's what we do."

Texting victims
The Kuberts both lost a leg in the crash. [Image Source:]

A state civil court found her not guilty, as the couple provided insufficient evidence and the judge was unsure if the state statute could be extended to a person not in the car.  The Kuberts and their attorney appealed, and the state appeals court heard the case.

Ultimately the appeals court clarified that people texting drivers could be held to blame.  But it still let the teenage girl off the hook, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to show she knew Mr. Best was driving at the time.  The court wrote:
In this appeal, we must also decide whether plaintiffs have shown sufficient evidence to defeat summary judgment in favor of the remote texter. We conclude they have not.

That ruling left the Kuberts dissatisfied; they feel that the teen texting the driver was as much to blame as the driver and they should both face serious life changing punishments, given how the pair's actions changed the injured couple's lives.

IV.  Governor Christie: Court Goofed

The case is generating a backlash.  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) -- never one to avoid speaking his mind -- told local radio station New Jersey 101.5 that while justice appeared served in the suit against the driver, the suit against his girlfriend who was not in the car was ridiculous.  He attacked the court ruling saying the responsibility not to drive recklessly is the driver's and no one else's.

He comments, "You have the obligation to keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and pay attention to what you're doing."

The ruling made NJ Governor Chris Christie sick to his stomach. [Image Source: Getty Images]
CNN affiliate WPIX interviewed a number of residents and they seemed to feel the same, arguing that the court's opinion was dangerous and made no sense.  Joe Applegate told the station, "That's completely absurd, just because [the texter] know you're driving doesn't mean, it really doesn't mean they know [the driver is] looking at it."

Louise McKellip comments, "Even talking to the driver can distract them, so they are going to arrest for someone who simply talked to someone who is driving?"

But like it or not, that's the precedent in the state of New Jersey for now, until a higher court overrules the ruling.  Since the plaintiffs lost the case, that case won't see a federal appeal, so it might be some time before the decision could be potentially overturned with another case.  Thus for now penalties for texting a driver becomes the latest way in which the police state is looking to help protect us from ourselves.

Sources: Superior Court of NJ's Appellate Division, CNN, Fox News

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Yeah, no.
By Motoman on 8/29/2013 12:16:14 PM , Rating: 5
Sorry guys...this one won't fly.

Say I happen to know my wife is on her way into town, and I discover that we need milk. I send my wife a text to let her know.

When her phone "dings" it's up to her to decide whether or not to pick up her phone and look at it - and it's her responsibility to make sure she is obeying the law of the land and operating her vehicle in a safe manner.

She can choose not to pick up the phone.

And, by the way, how is texting any different from a call or an email at that point? If I send my wife an email instead of a text, it will still go to her phone and provide the same exact "ding", and cause the same exact issue/non-issue.

If I call my wife instead, the phone will ring and ring and ring until it goes to voice mail...considerably more distracting than a single "ding" from a text or email.

Which ultimately begs the question, just exactly how are we to communicate with other people who happen to be driving at the time we think of something we need to say to them? A text, email, or phone call (into voice mail) are all perfectly good ways to inform that person of whatever we have to say, knowing that said person can attend to that message at whatever time is convenient and/or safe for them to do so.

Is it now incumbent upon my wife to constantly text or call me to inform me when she's reached her destination, and it's now legal to text/email/call her? Perhaps I should just have her chipped, like a dog, so that I can monitor her movements via some kind of app on my phone...

Or...maybe, just maybe, we could all pull our heads out of our as$es and realize that the one and only person who has responsibility for ensuring they are obeying the law and driving safely is the driver. In *all* cases, the driver can choose to ignore a notification tone from their phone. Or for that matter, set their phone to silent mode and/or turn it off entirely.

Under no circumstances should we start assigning blame for a car crash to people who weren't anywhere near the car to start with.

Perhaps the next time I'm driving past the local university, and see hot chicks suntanning on the lawn of their sorority, I'll be so distracted that I crash my truck. Well, sure, I'm *partially* at fault here, but seriously - those girls *knew* that people are driving on this road, and their presence there is a distraction to me, the driver. Ergo, they're going to have to be held accountable for me crashing my truck.

RE: Yeah, no.
By retrospooty on 8/29/2013 12:58:01 PM , Rating: 5
Ugh... score another one for the Nanny/Blamey state.

Maybe we should just take advantage of it... Instead of getting pissed off about lack of personal responsibility, just start being the ones that arent respondible for anything.

The accident isnt my fault, I was texted.
The video game made me do it...
The gun just went off. It should never have been sold to me, not my fault they gave it to me.
My child wasnt taught how to stay away from guns in public school, and 20 years earlier, I wasnt taught to properly store my guns in public school.
There is negative energy in here... Which one of you stupid Motherf#$@kers is giving off negative energy, you pieces os s$%t!

RE: Yeah, no.
By Mitch101 on 8/29/2013 1:20:32 PM , Rating: 2
Ive lived in NJ. Every driver in NJ owns the road not just the BMW drivers.

Its the only state I know of where you can get flipped off for doing 80 in the left lane of a 55mph speed limit because you didn't move over fast enough for the guy doing 90 flashing his headlights he has a diner to get to.

Its also the worst road rage state. Even the Justin Beibers of the state think they are mafia hit men and 300lb body builders when they get behind the wheel of their dads mid life crisis car.

This is just another reason for insurance companies to tack on a few more thousand a year for car insurance in NJ which is if not the highest in the nation darn close.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Samus on 8/29/2013 2:26:18 PM , Rating: 2
New Jersey drivers are what happens when you have New Yorker-types drive en-mass on less congested roads.

But more on topic. Going after somebody who innocently SENT the text (unknowing the recipient was driving) is completely ridiculous and sets a bad precedent. Chris Christi is right, as usual.

This would be like saying somebody took my firearm, without me knowing it, committed a crime, and somehow I am responsible too.

RE: Yeah, no.
By othercents on 8/29/2013 2:39:21 PM , Rating: 4
My daughter, age 11, always texts me when I'm on the way to pick her up from school. Obviously she shouldn't be liable for someone who is driving a car when she doesn't have a license nor does she understand the rules of the road. As a texter you are also expecting the driver to drive responsibly (IE. not respond to your text until they are pulled over).

Also note: Was it the driver reading the text that caused the wreck or the driver responding to the text? Typically everyone says it is the response and no matter how much you text the person, it is still a conscious decision by the driver to write the text while driving instead of pulling over or waiting until they are parked.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Motoman on 8/29/13, Rating: 0
RE: Yeah, no.
By ClownPuncher on 8/29/2013 2:58:28 PM , Rating: 2
Gas station, rest stop, stop light, arrived at destination. I'm not going to plot out the fucking route on Google maps just to make sure my text doesn't arrive while they may or may not be driving.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Motoman on 8/29/2013 3:43:45 PM , Rating: 2
You're still missing the point.

If you honestly had no way of knowing whether or not the person was driving, then you're off the hook. The ruling only applies to people who text someone when they know, for a fact, that they're driving at that particular moment.

RE: Yeah, no.
By ClownPuncher on 8/29/2013 3:53:49 PM , Rating: 3
You're missing the real point. If someone grabs their phone while they are driving to read a text... then cause an accident, only that person is responsible. This is not debatable.

You never absolutely know for sure someone else is driving.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Motoman on 8/29/2013 4:24:34 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the real point. If someone grabs their phone while they are driving to read a text... then cause an accident, only that person is responsible. This is not debatable.

...I see you ignored the giant post I made that started this thread. for:

You never absolutely know for sure someone else is driving.

Well, in some cases you do. Like the court case that started this - the girlfriend knew, for a fact, that her boyfriend was driving at the time she was texting him. Ergo, the court thinks she's culpable.

If you *aren't* aware that someone is driving, and you send them a text, you're off the hook.

What part of this aren't you getting?

RE: Yeah, no.
By ClownPuncher on 8/29/2013 5:14:34 PM , Rating: 3
She only had his word that he was driving. See, we are digging into lawyer speak now... Even if she saw him driving, a good lawyer could make her (or the jury) question that.

RE: Yeah, no.
By M'n'M on 8/29/2013 6:38:31 PM , Rating: 2
If you *aren't* aware that someone is driving, and you send them a text, you're off the hook.

So how much in legal fees will it cost someone to prove they weren't aware ? Anyone want to bet this statute won't be used to extort $$s from people.

RE: Yeah, no.
By futrtrubl on 8/30/2013 3:36:31 AM , Rating: 2
Well, in some cases you do. Like the court case that started this - the girlfriend knew, for a fact, that her boyfriend was driving at the time she was texting him. Ergo, the court thinks she's culpable.

No she didn't.
But it still let the teenage girl off the hook, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to show she knew Mr. Best was driving at the time.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/30/2013 8:14:16 AM , Rating: 3
Judges aren't supposed to make laws. There's no law against sending texts to a driver AFAIK. So how could she be culpable? Even if she did know.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Piiman on 8/31/2013 11:53:38 AM , Rating: 2
It was a "civil" case meaning they were suing her.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Piiman on 8/31/2013 11:51:23 AM , Rating: 2
"Ergo, the court thinks she's culpable."

No they did not.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Piiman on 8/31/2013 11:51:55 AM , Rating: 2
"Ergo, the court thinks she's culpable."

No they did not.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Myrandex on 8/29/2013 4:34:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yea F that. A big point of txt messages is that they don't have to be sametime. Even if I know my wife is driving home and I send her a txt stating that I'm stuck in a meeting and I'll be home later, I don't expect her to necessarily look at it right away.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/29/2013 4:49:02 PM , Rating: 4
There's so much wrong with this court decision, where to even begin?

The fossils of older generations, who mostly populate our judicial branch, are simply not tech-literate enough to grasp today's fast-paced integrated lifestyle.

What's the essential difference between a text message and an email? I get a text, my phone notifies me. The same with an Email. So if texting someone gives you an "electronic presence" in their vehicle, can't the same be said of an email?

The stupid legal precedence this sets, and all the ramifications, are so mind boggling I'm truly upset.

RE: Yeah, no.
By GTVic on 8/29/2013 6:13:39 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think you or a lot of people on this forum have any sort of grasp on how the legal system works. They are not saying that texting a driver automatically makes you liable, they are saying that it COULD make you liable.

For example, if you were physically in the car you could be liable if you distract the driver. Talking would not meet that standard but putting your hands over their eyes would.

So each case would have to be evaluated on its own merits. There would have to be proof that the person knew that the driver was on the road and they would have to show that the sender deliberately kept up a conversation in that situation. Comparing this to sending an email is ludicrous.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Fujikoma on 8/29/2013 7:08:53 PM , Rating: 3
A lot of people do understand. By your own statement, the other person would have to interfere with the driver. They are not forcing the driver to read/respond to their text. Putting your hands over someone's eyes while they are driving requires no choice on the part of the driver, which would render the driver innocent, but could cause the passenger to be guilty. Reading/responding to a text message REQUIRES THE DRIVER to make that choice independent of what the sender may want. The act of receiving a text message is less distracting than someone talking directly to the driver in the car. This civil case would be over-turned at a higher level due to the very stupid nature of the ruling. You might as well sue the telecoms for transmitting the message to a moving phone to begin with, since they know the phone is probably in a vehicle and they 'could' screen for key words such as 'I'm on the road' or 'I'm driving' to prevent the messages from being delivered until the phone stops moving.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/30/2013 9:00:12 AM , Rating: 2
Thing is even if they know, the driver and only the driver is responsible for his actions when he receives that SMS while driving.

If the driver takes it upon themselves to read/respond to that or any other text message while they are driving, the driver is also taking on whole responsibility for their actions. The sender of the text, email or call has no control over what a driver will do when they receive a message.

As I have said elsewhere in this topic, there is no way on earth such a law can be enforced.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Motoman on 8/31/2013 3:22:15 PM , Rating: 2
I would like to know why a simple statement of fact, citing information provided in the article itself, gets rated down around here.

RE: Yeah, no.
By bearweb on 8/29/2013 3:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
Does this mean if I get in an accident while eatin my Big Mac from the drive through, I can now sue McDonalds?

Big money here I come!

RE: Yeah, no.
By othercents on 8/29/2013 4:32:11 PM , Rating: 2
Yes until they put a notice on the Big Mac that says:

"Eating this while driving can result in a wreck".

RE: Yeah, no.
By Azethoth on 8/30/2013 3:20:36 AM , Rating: 2
Way to miss the point entirely. If you help your buddy commit a crime, you too will do time.

If you text your buddy while he is driving, it is on him if he texts back.

If you text him and become aware that he is driving, then you are in fact aiding and abetting the crime.

The girlfriend here is lucky they could not prove that she knew he was driving.

RE: Yeah, no.
By retrospooty on 8/30/2013 10:46:17 AM , Rating: 2
"If you text him and become aware that he is driving, then you are in fact aiding and abetting the crime."

That is ridiculous. It's on the driver to pay attention and drive sage. The driver is expected to be responsible enough to read the text when it is safe, not while driving.

Where do you draw the line on this? No calls allowed ?
what about hands free? What about emails? What about G-talk or Skype? Come on, the driver and ONLY the driver is responsible for what the driver does.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Mitch101 on 8/29/2013 1:08:28 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe they Can tie the drivers phone to use GPS motion sensing of the device to turn off the keyboard preventing texting while the vehicle is in motion and 2 minutes after so they aren't trying to sneak one in at the traffic lights? Wishful thinking it will never happen. I say driver because the passengers should be able to text away they are not controlling the vehicle and while texting they probably are not bothering the driver.

My car also has built in texting options and I never have to take my eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel to text. I can tell it to read me the text message and it does and then it asks me if I want to respond where it will translate my voice to text. Seriously Windows Phone cannot be the only device this is capable with so I assume everyone has this functionality and I dont see it as a danger at all its no different than having a conversation with someone. Its as easy and pushing the button on the steering wheel to adjust the volume or change the radio station. However my phone will register that a text took place it wont register that I did it through voice commands and that I never touched the keypad or took my eyes off the road to do so. The problem is the people who do think they can hand text and drive.

Whats going to happen is were going to have to have in car black boxes that record us to prove what we were doing at the time of an accident. Its coming. It has to the tech is cheap now I see in car cams that record to memory for less than $30.00 they arent great but its a sign that the tech can be implemented.

RE: Yeah, no.
By DanNeely on 8/29/2013 1:15:51 PM , Rating: 2
How do you tell the difference between the drivers phone and all the passengers phones?

RE: Yeah, no.
By Mitch101 on 8/29/2013 1:22:37 PM , Rating: 2
Near Field Communication? I honestly don't know. I think the car black box is going to happen instead.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Adonlude on 8/29/2013 4:46:06 PM , Rating: 2
And what do the rape/murder victims do when they are being chased in their car by the would be rapist/murder as the victim tries to call the police? Just get raped/murdered... for the children?

A lot of you need to head on back to Great Britan while the rest of us re-declare re-independance here in America.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Piiman on 8/31/2013 12:07:44 PM , Rating: 2
1. Who gets into a car chase to rape someone?

2. They could do like they did before cell phones. You know, like not worry about some silly never going to happen BS "what if".

3. But in case it ever does (1 in billion or less chance) they could drive to the police station. :-)

4. I think you need to head back to the mental ward as you are obviously paranoid. Lol

It would be a trivial matter to make a cell phone with GPS to not accept text or emails while moving and leaving the phone still available for those times you find yourself being chased by mad rapist or Jason.

It wouldn’t surprise me that there is an app already for that.

RE: Yeah, no.
By ClownPuncher on 8/29/2013 1:31:47 PM , Rating: 2
It shouldn't matter. Everyone in the car should be held responsible, and incarcerated if needed. Passenges should also refrain from speaking to the driver, or making eye contact.

Eyes forward or you're going to the rape wing of the hoosegow.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Mitch101 on 8/29/2013 1:47:14 PM , Rating: 3
Yea wont be long before someone says texting while a passenger leads toward crystal meth usage and global warming.

RE: Yeah, no.
By retrospooty on 8/29/2013 1:17:04 PM , Rating: 2
You are probably right... In car black boxes are coming soon. It's not a far stretch from where we are now to see wristband monitoring systems on us all by the year 2025. George Orwell was right, just off by several decades.

RE: Yeah, no.
By kingmotley on 8/29/2013 2:09:02 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like someone hasn't been paying attention. Car black boxes have been in our cars for quite some time.

RE: Yeah, no.
By fic2 on 8/29/2013 3:56:24 PM , Rating: 2
Orwell was an optimist...

RE: Yeah, no.
By Motoman on 8/29/2013 4:25:47 PM , Rating: 2
I really wanted to be an optimist at one point. But I just knew it wouldn't work out.

RE: Yeah, no.
By ClownPuncher on 8/29/2013 1:29:03 PM , Rating: 4
Who cares about personal responsibility? We can't move forward as a society if we are responsible for our own actions, which is where the government comes in. If it weren't for the government, you guys would be out making your own choices and doing things you want to do. That would be terrible.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Mitch101 on 8/29/2013 1:48:15 PM , Rating: 1
We pay for most of the unemployed/welfare to do that now.

RE: Yeah, no.
By drycrust3 on 8/29/2013 5:54:14 PM , Rating: 2
If it weren't for the government, you guys would be out making your own choices and doing things you want to do. That would be terrible.

Uhhh ... no. Society needs laws, a justice system, and some sort of financial stability, and that's where a government comes in, they do all of that.
If you don't have some agreed system of laws and justice (and a centralised government is just one method), then, on an observation based on media reports and the like, it would seem to me the average person in the street is worse off than when you do have some system of laws and justice.
Of course, when you have too much law and a fanatical pursuit of justice, then you end up with the average person having as few choices and freedoms as when there was too little law.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/29/13, Rating: -1
RE: Yeah, no.
By ERROR666 on 8/29/2013 3:57:35 PM , Rating: 2
+1 here

RE: Yeah, no.
By Azethoth on 8/30/2013 3:28:25 AM , Rating: 2
Lemme get this straight. You want to blame the people that got run over by some dumbass texting his girlfriend?

Who else should shove their remaining limbs up each others asses? Wounded Soldiers? Cops?

Maybe you should just stick to stuffing cheetos in your pie hole?

If I got run over by some dumbass too busy texting to drive, you bet your ass I will sue him and his dumb girlfriend.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Piiman on 8/31/2013 12:27:26 PM , Rating: 1
What an azz. So you think that these two that both lost limbs due to a texting driver don't have a right to some compensation?

Frankly I'm surprised they only got 500,000 from the driver.

I don't however think they have a leg to stand on when it comes to suing the person that sent the text. (pardon the pun)

I bet you wouldn't have the balls to say that sh*t to their faces and if you did you would probably find two different legs up your own ass in 2 seconds flat..

RE: Yeah, no.
By GTVic on 8/29/2013 6:18:53 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe try thinking a bit first. Texting a driver who is driving COULD MAKE someone liable.

The plaintiff would have to prove knowledge and reckless disregard of the fact that multiple ongoing communications were likely distracting the driver. Sending an email or initiating a phone call would not meet that standard.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/29/2013 6:26:31 PM , Rating: 2
Texting a driver who is driving COULD MAKE someone liable.

We get that!! What we're saying is that train of logic is insane and completely irresponsible.

You and you alone are responsible for operating your motor vehicle in a safe and legal manner. If you distract yourself by answering a text, that's on you!

What is so hard about this?

RE: Yeah, no.
By Jeffk464 on 8/29/2013 6:38:05 PM , Rating: 2
She can choose not to pick up the phone

Yup, and unlike a phone call a text doesn't have to be answered immediately. You could have sent the text assuming she would look at it after she parks her car and before she goes into the store.

RE: Yeah, no.
By Piiman on 8/31/2013 12:29:56 PM , Rating: 2
Phone calls don't have to be answered immediately either. Ever heard of Voice Mail?

What about billboards?
By SublimeSimplicity on 8/29/2013 12:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
Those things are always displaying "text messages" to me while I'm driving.

RE: What about billboards?
By Motoman on 8/29/2013 12:17:28 PM , Rating: 6
Oh, in MN we do one even better than that.

Once in a while, you'll come across a sign that says something like "Concentrate on Driving."

Oh, mean as opposed to senselessly taking my eyes from the road to read an insipid sign advising me not to take my eyes from the road?

RE: What about billboards?
By JDHammer on 8/29/2013 12:32:28 PM , Rating: 2
What about all the road signs you see daily? I mean for almost every road sign i pass, i read it, thus takin my eyes off the road even for a sec...

Examples of signs: speed limit, ped xing, etc...

RE: What about billboards?
By Motoman on 8/29/2013 12:41:56 PM , Rating: 3
The point is the irony of this specific sign. Normal road signs are conveying information that the driver *needs* - like "Denver - 100 Miles."

The sign I mentioned exists for no purpose other than to take the driver's eyes off the road in order to inform them that they should keep their eyes on the road.

RE: What about billboards?
By drumsticks on 8/30/2013 8:25:48 AM , Rating: 2
If I have a car crash from reading a billboard or listening to the radio, can I sue the radio station for knowing that I was driving and causing my own terrible driving?

Worst part of this story...
By bah12 on 8/29/2013 1:15:55 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with Chris

RE: Worst part of this story...
By Mitch101 on 8/29/2013 3:17:36 PM , Rating: 2
You read the article! Most just comment based on the title.

I agree and if you see him tell him to run for President.

RE: Worst part of this story...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/29/2013 3:23:05 PM , Rating: 1
Oh god no. That's all we need, some pro-government RINO fatcat Republican to run so we can hand the White House to the Democrats again.

Let's not forget this traitor fatass had a major role in getting Obama re-elected in the first place.

RE: Worst part of this story...
By Mitch101 on 8/29/2013 3:42:24 PM , Rating: 2
Fat has what to do with politics?

Hes quite good way better than most politicians Ive seen in a long time. He also has a high approval rating among politicians.
As Christie vies for re-election against Democratic challenger Barbara Buono, his approval ratings remain in rarefied territory. According to the poll, 70 percent of respondents approve of his job performance. That number is slightly off the 78 percent rating Christie saw in January, shortly after Super Storm Sandy devastated the state.

“No political figure can maintain an approval rating of nearly 80 percent,” said Terry Golway, director of the Kean University Center for History, Politics, and Policy. “What’s astounding about Governor Christie is that he continues to enjoy record-high approval ratings across the board. These figures are the stuff of political fantasies, and yet they are reality for Chris Christie.”

RE: Worst part of this story...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/29/13, Rating: 0
By ClownPuncher on 8/29/2013 4:10:05 PM , Rating: 2
He's pretty funny, though. Politically more akin to old school blue dog dems than a typical conservative, like you say.

RE: Worst part of this story...
By Mitch101 on 8/29/2013 4:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
Except that his rating when down with the sandy issue.

So who do you think would make a good candidate for president then?

RE: Worst part of this story...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/29/13, Rating: -1
By Skywalker123 on 8/30/2013 12:20:26 AM , Rating: 1
We don't need someone to start wars, we already have obama, he would come in handy if we need someone to trade arms for hostages or sell drugs to buy arms for terrorists.

RE: Worst part of this story...
By retrospooty on 8/30/2013 10:53:39 AM , Rating: 1
"Why the hell am I the bad guy here for not wanting another George Bush or Barrack Obama in the White House? Wtf?"

I really dont think any true leaders are left in politics... If someone was a true leader and would be willing to make the tough choices we need, they would never get to the level of President. They would be eaten alive and ripped apart for their policies when they ran for pres... (Candixate X voted to cut finding to [insert bloat of the day] can we really trust him to not cut [insert bloat of the next day] ...

Our system is just broken from the ground up. IT doesn't even matter if a rep or dem is elected. It's all the same BS anymore.

By Makaveli on 8/29/2013 1:43:51 PM , Rating: 2
And how are you suppose to know someone is driving if they don't tell you.

how the hell is this going to stand up in court.

is there nothing else worth looking of more important than trying to create stupid laws like this.

RE: ???
By ClownPuncher on 8/29/2013 1:53:44 PM , Rating: 2
Are you saying the garden state has been sampling their herbs a little too often?

RE: ???
By daboom06 on 8/29/2013 2:46:24 PM , Rating: 2
the article said charges against the text sender would only be pressed when it's made obvious to the sender that the driver is driving.

Good luck enforcing it
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/29/2013 8:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
I have no problem with laws. Laws are necessary if they are proven to provide a tangible benefit to society and are enforceable.

While I fully agree with laws against texting while driving (sorry but while you are texting, your attention is NOT on your driving where it belongs!) or using a cell phone without a handsfree rig, I have yet to see any of these laws enforced. I drive down the freeway and the every 3rd car barreling down the left lane at 70mph is being driven by someone with either a cell pasted to his/her ear or in front of him WITH HIM/HER LOOKING DOWN AT IT!

Cops can't even enforce the laws already in place in most places. How the frig are they gonna enforce a nanny law against someone that is not even in the damn car?

Ain't gonna happen and the asshat nannies creating the law in the first place will give themselves a circle jerk in congratulations for passing it.

RE: Good luck enforcing it
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/29/2013 8:22:32 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, and Virgin Communications (my cell operator) spams SMS messages at me all the freaking time - including while I am driving.

Perhaps if they do it and I cause a chain reaction pileup on the freeway I can blame Virgin.

Yeah. That sounds good. Don't sue me - sue Richard Branson it's his fault!!

By flatrock on 8/30/2013 2:19:14 PM , Rating: 2
Even if she knew he was driving, he is responsible for maintaining control of the vehicle he was driving. I have little difficulty ignoring messages until I can safely look at them. If I get a message that I feel I need to respond to and I'm driving home from work in traffic, I respond by calling back via bluetooth, which I find to be much less distracting than trying to type on a smart phone.

It's not possible or practical to remove every potential distraction a driver might face, and it is ridicules to assign blame to someone for doing something that may distract someone else if that person acts irresponsibly.

If reading a message on your phone is so distracting then we also need to remove all billboards and advertisements along the roads.

How about someone putting a bumper sticker on their car? Obviously they know other people are going to read it while they are driving. Those personalized plates are also distracting. Better go after the car owner and the state for issuing them.

By far the most distracting thing I deal with while driving is having my kids in the car. I think the courts will grasp that they can't hold toddlers responsible for distracting their parents while driving, but it's really not much more absurd than finding the sender of a message liable.

This judge needs to be removed from the bench because he obviously lacks enough sense to make rational rulings.

By Azethoth on 9/2/2013 9:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
You lack the common sense required here. This is simply applying the law on being an accessory to a crime to the new field of being an accessory to texting while driving.

You can still text people without worrying if they are driving. You just can not continue texting after the point you discover that they are tarded and texting while driving.

Doing time
By dj LiTh on 8/29/2013 12:20:48 PM , Rating: 3
So, what are you in for? Murder.... you?
I texted my girlfriend.

The silver lining
By bearweb on 8/29/2013 3:23:24 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully this will mean I stop getting text alerts and/or phone calls to my cell from political nominees or their action committees. If I do get one while driving, I'm fairly certain I can now sue them.

Hell, even if I'm not driving I'll just start running around in circles and zig zags, then stop suddenly. That way when I'm in court and I bring up the logs of my NSA installed GPS tracker, it will clearly show that they caused me to become disoriented while behind the wheel of a car.

By BillyBatson on 8/29/2013 11:09:49 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds to be like the couple who was hit are feeling a little bitter and feel like they are a couple who were hurt by another couple and want payback. The girl txting had no fault in the accident at all. I started reading the article with them looking like the victims but what they tried to do makes me glad they both lost limbs.

By macca007 on 8/30/2013 6:04:00 AM , Rating: 2
Not really an issue unless you are driving an old bomb!
My car and phone is linked, It reads out text messages to me over the stereo. Likewise I can talk to the cars stereo headunit and it will send text messages, I don't have to look at anything, Eyes are on road, Hell I don't even have to look down at speedo as it is projected onto windscreen, Not some $200k luxury car either just a Holden VF SSV Redline.
Maybe people should look at alternatives instead of silly f'ing suv's and go back to a sedan with everything!

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