NJ court: texters can be held responsible for actions of drivers they distract

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by rdowns, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. rdowns, Aug 30, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013

    rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    Jul 11, 2003
    #1
    This is absurd. What about a phone call or an email? Can I tweet them? Can I now sue the dude at the drive-thru who sold me food while I was driving? Can't see it standing up to challenge.

     
  2. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #2
    “knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted.”

    There is no way possible that anyone could know that for certain unless they're riding in that car with them. Even if you knew someone was going to be traveling somewhere and you texted them during that time period, you can't know for sure if they're driving at that exact moment or not. What if they stopped for gas or a coffee?

    This won't hold up. Can't be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in any case.

    edit- Even in the case that this idiot court made this ruling, they found the girl who texted the kid who caused the accident couldn't have possibly known exactly what he was doing at the moment she sent the text or if he was going to try to read/respond while driving. So they made this decision, and then directly contradicted it in the case it was all about to begin with. Bang up job by these morons on this appeals court. :rolleyes:
     
  3. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #3
    Somewhat already discussed yesterday before that thread's OP and another got into a pissing match.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1628987

    I think this is beyond stupid. When I send a text, there is no way I can reasonably know what the receiver is doing at that time. I am not responsible if they decide to try and answer while driving.
     
  4. rdowns thread starter macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #4


    Oops. I guess I knew or had special reason to know that.
     
  5. appleisking macrumors 6502a

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    May 24, 2013
    #5
    not only is it impossible to prove that you knew what the person you texted was doing, there is no reason at all for you to be held responsible if the person you texted was behind the wheel even if you knew they are driving. A text sent does not have to be a text read.
     
  6. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #6
    Was the search button broken?:p
     
  7. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #7
    I'm kind of confused by what the ruling really says, but, I gather that the judges said something to the effect that in principle you could sue, and, it would depend on the exact circumstances.


    But, if I ever need a good lawyer in New Jersey, I know who to call ;)
     
  8. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #8
    I find this one kind of silly. Texts are easy to ignore. Your phone will not ring continuously for seconds at a time due to an incoming text. Texting in general shouldn't require an instantaneous response.
     
  9. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Well, if you didn't “know or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted,” then you wouldn't be held responsible.

    Dude I: Whatcha doin' dude?

    Dude II: Divin' to this dude's house.

    Dude I: Dude. Swing by and pick me up.

    Dude II: Can't. Just ran into the back of another car while reading your text.

    It may not be as impossible to determine as you think.

    I'll bet there are many text responses that indicate the person is driving. If the next response is anything more than, "text me when you get to where you're going," and you try to carry on the conversation, then I'm okay with you being held partly responsible for distracting the driver.
     
  10. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    Oct 27, 2009
    #10
    How are you distracting the driver? When the driver makes it clear him/her is driving, it's their responsibility to ignore any text alerts. The driver can easily ignore, mute, or turn phone off. By saying texts distract the driver, it's basically an admission that no driver is capable or responsible enough to ignore any type of alerts. And that's not true at all.

    People sure have the know how to put the phone aside when the cops are near by. I see it all the time. Those who talk and text only to quickly stop when they spot a cop car. If people are perfectly able to obey traffic laws when a patrol car is in sight, then it should be only their responsibility and nobody else for what they do when a patrol car is not around.
     
  11. ThisIsNotMe macrumors 68000

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    #11
    Are we going to charge children with crimes when they distract their mothers?
    Are we going to charge McDonalds with crimes when they serve food that is consumed while driving and causing a distraction?

    Pathetic.
    More authoritarian progressivism.
     
  12. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #12
    That's true. And I really do get what you're saying.

    On the other hand, the reality is that we live in a society where we're connected 24/7 to our devices.

    I don't get it. I'm a 52 year-old who hates social media (other than PRSI) and only use my phone when I'm at the grocery store checking to see if my wife wants anything.

    But I do work at a university and see kids with their heads buried in their phones. For them, it's different.

    Trends like this demand a response. How do you suggest we address it?
     
  13. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502

    Bug-Creator

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    #13
    Simple:
    - Cop sees you with cellphone in hand while driving
    - Cop stops you
    - Driving licence withdrawn for atleast 3 months

    2nd offender ?
    - Driving licence suspended till you pass an Idots Test

    And yeah I'm 100% serious !
     
  14. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #14

    I agree, but I think making a sender of a text responsible for the receiver's actions is slightly past the line. That's like suing Mcdonalds for knowingly serving obese people.

    ----------

    And let's not forget to add huge fines along with that.
     
  15. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #15
    Agreed. The penalties for drivers needs to be dramatically increased.



    Agreed. A lot of people might ignore a temporary suspension of their license and continue to drive. A nice steep fine needs to be included.
     
  16. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #16
    In the end I think it depends on how the law is applied. If they tried to prosecute people just for sending texts then that obviously is way over the line. However, the law is written to target those who "knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted."

    That's a pretty high bar to pass. If it could be proved that was the case, then I have no problem assigning some degree of culpability to that person.
     
  17. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #17
    Maybe by writing such an impossible law to prove -remember, the court who wrote this didn't even find the person in question guilty of this- the court is hoping that people think twice when they know they may be texting a driver and maybe that would help cut down on the rising amount of crashes due to texting and driving.
     
  18. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #18
    I think I mentioned this in another thread, but it would be a lot easier to prevent people with suspended licenses from driving if mass transit systems weren't so bad in many cities.
     
  19. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #19
    Off topic ..... What I don't understand is how some people can has their license suspended over 10 times and still be able to drive again? Especially when it's for serious matters like DUI. They shouldn't be allowed to drive ever or have a very long period until they can get a license again.
     
  20. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #20
    Because in many places no license means no work..

    ==============

    I don't think increasing fines or punishment will fix anything. There needs to be a long term campaign like "click it or ticket"
     
  21. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #21
    It's at least tangential. The issue of texting while driving is a subset of the necessity of basic transportation. If you had a suspended license and no mass transit system to get to work, what would you do? Larger cities here aren't very friendly to bicyclists, and some people drive long commutes. Of course they should have thought of that in advance, but after the fact what happens? I suspect many of them would still drive if the alternative was being fired. It would be easier to enforce strict punishments if there was a way of alleviate the need to drive in more regions. I only rolled my eyes at this one because it's ridiculously easy for a driver to ignore texts. Texting evolved as a form of discreet communication. The receiving individual can retrieve the message and respond at their leisure. You don't have a device that will otherwise ring multiple times.
     
  22. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #22

    Driving is not a right, it's a privileged. At least in the USA. Why should anyone(including the lawmakers) care about you losing your means of income if you don't care about losing your own or someone's life?
     
  23. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #23
    because they now have to pay you. More and harsher punishment never works witness three strikes and capital punishment.
     
  24. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #24
    I mentioned enforcement. People are caught driving with suspended licenses or without insurance. They wouldn't be as likely to do this if an alternative existed. I mentioned Southern California at times because there are so many people who commute into either San Diego or Los Angeles through paths where you really can't catch a bus or commuter train. In a sense we've made a privilege into a secondary necessity, which makes revocation difficult to enforce. It's not like having them lose their job is a good thing anyway. They may end up on unemployment, possibly welfare. If they're lucky they have a spouse that can drive them or the option of a daily carpool, probably at least pitching in for gas. It only applies to a percentage of situations though. I suspect many of the others would continue to drive. I can't say what I would do as I've never been in that situation. I don't text (or drink) and drive though.
     
  25. rdowns thread starter macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #25

    It is quite popular for driver's licenses to be revoked except for getting to and from work.
     

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