Text Sender Protection Bill to be Introduced in NJ [AUDIO]
A Garden State lawmaker plans to introduce a measure to protect text message senders in response to last week's New Jersey appeals court ruling that said someone who sends a text message to someone they know is driving, can be held partially liable if the driver causes an accident.
"I'm going to introduce a bill," said Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande. "What we're looking to do is to shield New Jersey citizens from being sued for sending a text message to someone who may or may not be driving. This allows for anybody to send a text message without being sued. It puts the responsibility exactly where it belongs; in the front seat with the driver."
Last Wednesday night on Townsquare Media's monthly "Ask the Governor" program, Gov. Chris Christie, who is also an attorney questioned the court decision and called it silly.
"Yeah, I think that's kind of stupid," said Christie. "First of all you shouldn't text someone when you know they're driving, but then again, how do you know how long they're going to be in the car? Ultimately it's still the obligation of the driver."
According to Casagrande, the sender of a text message shouldn't be held culpable for something beyond their control. She feels that sets an impractical standard. The Assemblywoman believes protections have to be in place from liability for a person merely sending a text.
"There is no denying that texting while driving is dangerous," explained Casagrande. "However, the sender of a text is not omniscient and cannot predict what the recipient will be doing when they decide to read the message. It is illogical to expect that a text sender can reasonably determine if the recipient is both driving and will read the text immediately."
The Assemblywoman expects to introduce the bill as soon as the Assembly returns to session which could happen as early as this coming Monday.