Texting drivers could land senders in trouble
Landmark New Jersey case applauded in Nova Scotia
People who text someone who then gets into an accident could be held partially responsible in a landmark New Jersey court decision.
It's a decision that's being applauded in Nova Scotia.
Driver distraction was at the heart of the court case in New Jersey this week.
The case involved a 17-year-old girl who had been texting her boyfriend while he was driving. He drifted over the centre line and hit a couple riding on a motorcycle in the oncoming lane.
During the appeal, the court didn’t find the girlfriend liable because there was no proof that she knew her boyfriend was driving at the time.
But the appeal court ruled that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, provided it could be proven that the sender knew the recipient was driving.
"It's whoever's receiving the text. It's their choice to be distracted by that text," said cyclist John Ryan.
But this lawyer John McKiggan said texters also share some of the blame.
"I drive to the grocery store and you text me to say, 'Hey John, can you pick up a quart of milk on the way?' You know I'm in the car and if I say, 'Sure ... and then injure someone, it's not just me that could be held responsible for that dangerous activity but potentially you could be held responsible for doing that too," he said.
McKiggan said the U.S. ruling is a natural extension of the law.
"I think it's something that the public has to be made aware of so that people realize that texting and driving is just as dangerous as drinking and driving," said McKiggan.
Dillon Poberezhsky was hit by a distracted driver two days ago. He was on this bike when a truck smashed into him.
"It was scary because the actual collision was really quick but the seconds that predated it was like really slow motion so in my mind I could tell the driver wasn't paying attention and I was going to get hit," he said.
"I tried to lock eyes and the guy was just not looking up."
Poberezhsky had a helmet on. He remembers bouncing off the hood of the truck and his head hitting the pavement.He's okay but he knows the driver who hit him isn't the only distracted driver out there.