They call them "Remote Texters." An article in the ABAJournal.com chronicles a New Jersey case that indicates that the person sending a text message to someone the texter knows to be driving could result in the remote texter being responsible for damages caused by the distracted driver.
A special relationship such as an employer/employee, parent/child, or even friends who have particular knowledge that the recipient is driving AND that the recipient is expecting an important text or unusually compelled to be distracted by an incoming text would have to be shown to hold the remote texter liable.
Is this going a bit too far? I can see an employer sharing some liability but if the distracted driver is working, the employer is likely responsible anyway. The fact that an employer sends a text to an employee known to be driving will pan out to be the clearest link to liability. Mom? Dad? maybe. Friends - I sure hope not.
Thus far, this is not the rule in Georgia or Florida but employers, parents, friends, you don't want to be a defendant in a case of first impression. If you know a person is driving, and you know that person is expecting an important message or unusually likely to check a text while driving, be on the safe side and wait until they are out of the car.
This is not legal advice. It is intended to inform you of an interesting development in automobile liability law. Don't text and drive. Don't even look at your text when you drive. They can all wait or you can pull into a Dunkin Dounuts get a coffee and an apple fritter and check your text messages.
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Attorney Erik Rosskopf
An active member of the Florida and Georgia bar associations, he practices in Jacksonville Florida handling cases throughout North Florida and Georgia.