A ruling made in New Jersey appeals court Tuesday found that a texter can be held accountable for causing a crash if they're aware that their interlocutor is driving.
The decision was made as the result of a 2009 Morris County crash, in which a teenager—then-18-year-old Kyle Best—was found to be texting while driving when he collided with a couple on a motorcycle, severing the legs of both. However, the third party will only be held responsible if there is proof that they knew the recipient of their texts was behind the wheel. In this case, 17-year-old Shannon Colonna, who had been texting with Best moments before the crash, is off the hook.
"We conclude that a person sending text messages has a duty not to text someone who is driving if the texter knows, or has special reason to know, the recipient will view the text while driving," the opinion reads. "But we also conclude that plaintiffs have not presented sufficient evidence to prove that Colonna had such knowledge when she texted Best immediately before the accident."
Still, the ruling sets a notable precedent for the future: If the last message you send before your friend gets in a crash is along the lines of "WOO i luv it when u txt me while driving lol," you might be fucked.