Currently, 41 states have laws on the books that completely ban texting while driving, although sadly, Texas is not among them. Despite attempts by several lawmakers, Texas remains one of the last states in which most drivers are free under state law to engage in the deadly practice of texting while behind the wheel.
A judge in Morris, New Jersey recently decided a novel legal issue: can a person who sends a text message to a person who is driving be held liable if that person injures others or crashes while receiving the message.
The issue was raised in a lawsuit because of an accident involving nineteen-year-old Wharton resident, Kyle Best. In 2009, while he was driving down the highway, Best looked down at his cellphone to read a text message. With his eyes not focused on the road, his vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic and crashed into David and Linda Kubert, who were driving a motorcycle. The results of the motorcycle wreck were catastrophic-one of David’s legs was torn off and one of Linda’s legs had to be amputated.
In a culture built on speed and, increasingly, electronic interconnectivity, texting while driving and unsafe cell phone use pose daily dangers on the road. That’s why 30 states have outright bans or substantial restrictions on the use of electronic devices behind the wheel. The goal is to get people to pay attention to the road, and prevent motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving.