A new law was recently enacted in New Jersey that allows for the criminal prosecution of drivers who violate the state’s hands-free laws and cause a fatal accident. The legislation, called the “Kulesh, Kubert and Bolis Law,” covers drivers who were texting on their cellphones at the time of the accident.
The measure is named after three individuals who were killed or severely injured by motorists using handheld cellphones while driving.
Under the law, proof of texting while driving gives rise to a presumption that the driver was driving recklessly at the time of the accident. Prosecutors can now charge offenders with committing vehicular assault or homicide when an accident occurs as a result of texting while driving.
The law is certainly needed, especially since most drivers do not understand just how dangerous texting can be. In a recent survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers were asked if they thought their driving changed while texting and 25 percent of respondents felt that texting made no difference. In reality, though, texting while driving makes a driver 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident.
No one should ever suffer serious harm or loss of life at the hands of another, but unfortunately, such incidents happen. Although the criminal courts do a good job of holding reckless drivers accountable, they are not the only remedy available. New Jersey car accident victims and their families also have the opportunity to seek financial compensation in the form of a civil lawsuit.