NJ judge rules those who text drivers hold ‘special responsibility’ in accidents

HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY (PIX11) – A warning to anyone who texts in the state of New Jersey:  if you send a text to someone you know is driving and that driver gets into an accident that seriously hurts someone, you could be held responsible.

This is part of a decision that came down from the New Jersey Appellate Court on Tuesday.

Its a response to a case brought up by David and Linda Kubert v. Kyle Best and Shannon Colonna.

The case involved an accident back in 2009 where a 17-year-old girl, Shannon Colonna texted her friend, 18-year-old Kyle Best, just before Best crashed his pickup truck into a couple riding on a motorcycle.

The couple, David and Linda Kubert, both lost parts of their legs. They sued not only the truck’s driver, but also the girl who was texting him.

Judges Ashrafi, Espinosa and Guadagno ruled that Colonna, in this particular case, could not be held liable.

But for future cases like this one, it ruled that the person who sent the texts could be held responsible.

“Wow, I never thought of it that way. That’s good. Surprising but good,” said Linda Lopez of Hoboken.

Kenny Yue of Staten Island did not think it would be practical, saying, “People text all day long nowadays. So that would mean like 80% of people could be held responsible if an accident occurs? Come on.  I don’t think it is a good idea.  Also, how are they going to prove it?”

New Jersey has really been cracking down on texting and driving.  Back in June, the state made penalties against drivers who text, similar to drunk driving, if you cause an accident that seriously hurts someone.

That includes fines up to $150,000 and even prison time.

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