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Distracted driver liability: the case of the texter and the textee

A driver texting while driving.
A driver texting while driving.

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An unprecedented lawsuit that centers around texting while driving is being weighed by a New Jersey judge this week.

A college student could be held liable for texting her boyfriend when she knew he was driving. The tragic collision happened in 2009. Nineteen-year old Kyle Best's car swerved into the oncoming lane hitting a couple riding a motorcycle. David and Linda Kuber each lost a leg in the collision. Best admitted he had been texting with his girlfriend Shannon Colonna. She also admitted she knew Best was driving. Typical to a lot of teens, Best and Colonna had sent each other dozens of text over the course of the day.

The Kubers' lawyer, Skippy Weinstein, argues Colonna was "electronically present" in the car that day. Weinstein told the New York Post, "If you know somebody is operating a motor vehicle, if you know it is illegal to text and drive because it violates the law, if you know it's dangerous, if you know all this and knowingly send a text, then a jury should decide."


What does the "AirTalk" jury think of this case? Do you think Colonna is legally and/or morally liable? Do you worry about texting someone you know is behind the wheel?


Todd Clement, Trial Lawyer, The Clement Firm based in Dallas; writes the blog; past national president of the American Board of Trial Advocates