September 10, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Sending and receiving text messages on cellphones while driving motor vehicles is a hazard common to every person who drives in New Jersey. Despite laws in many states across the nation that forbid the use of handheld devices while driving, many people still text while driving, leading to hundreds of thousands of car accidents
each year in the U.S.
New Jersey distracted driving laws
According to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics, well over 3,000 people died in New Jersey due to accidents caused by distracted drivers in one year. In New Jersey, it is against the law for drivers to use handheld cellphones and it is illegal to send or read text messages while driving.
Just this summer, New Jersey increased penalties for violations of distracted driving laws. Formerly, texting or talking on a cellphone was a secondary offense -- meaning that drivers needed to be pulled over for an issue other than illegal cellphone use. The penalty for a first offense was just $100.
Now, a New Jersey motorist can be pulled over just for texting or talking on a handheld phone. Additionally, penalties are double what they used to be and, if it is a driver's third or subsequent offense, the penalty can be as much as $800.
Liability for accidents
When someone suffers an injury in an accident caused by a distracted driver, it is well known that the driver may be held legally responsible for resulting injuries or wrongful death
. Last month, responsibility for distracted driving accidents was extended to remote texters -- people to send text messages to drivers.
The New Jersey Court of Appeals decided that people sending text messages have a duty to motorists on public roads to refrain from sending send text messages to motor vehicle drivers. The case before the court involved a young woman who sent a text message to a male friend who, upon responding to her text, caused an accident with a motorcycle
. The couple on the motorcycle suffered severe personal injuries and sued the driver of the car and the woman whom they claimed caused his accident.
While the judges determined the young woman was not liable to the injured couple, they did confirm that remote texters are responsible if a victim of a distracted driving accident can show that the person sending the text knows the following:
- The recipient of the text message is driving.
- The driver will read or respond to the text message while he or she is driving.
If, however, the remote texter was not aware that he or she was sending a text to someone who was driving, or assumed that the recipient would not check text messages while driving, the remote texter is not liable for damages or injuries caused by a subsequent accident.
A lawyer can help
If you or someone you love suffers an injury in an accident caused by a negligent or distracted driver, consult an experienced personal injury lawyer. An attorney knowledgeable about accidents may be able to help you obtain compensation for damages such as medical expenses, ongoing medical care, wage loss and pain and suffering.
Article provided by Bailey & Orozco, LLC, Attorneys at Law
Visit us at www.bolegal.com