By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
You’ve probably seen a bunch of commercials that say “don’t text and drive,” since it can put the life of everyone on the road at risk. Apparently, 18-year-old Kyle Best didn’t take the commercials too seriously, and because of his ignorance, he got into an accident while texting. The victims not only successfully won a lawsuit against him, but also the person that was sending texts to him! While the girl texting him was let off the hook with a warning, a new state law has now been passed in New Jersey that makes it illegal to text a driver you know is behind the wheel.
It all started when Best was driving his truck on the open road. After he got a text from his 17-year-old girlfriend Shannon Colonna, he irresponsibly took his eyes off the road just to reply. It didn’t take too long to send a quick message, but the short distraction was enough. Best had accidentally driven into opposing traffic and struck David and Linda Kubert, a couple who was innocently riding on a motorcycle. It wasn’t a gentle fender-bender, either. While Best walked away relatively unharmed, poor David and Linda both lost their legs.
The Kubert’s immediately sued him, but here’s the twist: they also sued his girlfriend Colonna! According to the married couple, she is every bit as responsible for the accident because she’s the one that distracted him in the first place! What did Colonna have to say? “I’m a young teenager. That’s what we do.” Right… Well, according to the court, being a “young teenager” isn’t enough of an excuse. The court said, “We hold that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted.”
Lucky for Colonna, though, the court let her go. Why? She sent more than 100 other texts the day of the accident, so the court determined she didn’t know Best was driving. Yikes, that girl needs to put down her phone and pick up a book! However, the court won’t be so understanding next time. They passed the “Kulesh, Kubert and Bolish’s Law” that makes texting a driver a criminal offense. If someone breaks the law, they can be fined up to $15,000 if the driver causes an accident.
Even though the “Kulesh, Kubert and Bolish’s Law” is not federally enforced, it should encourage people across the nation not to text their friends that are behind the wheel. After all, who wants to be responsible for the tragedy of someone losing their limbs?