The appeal judges' harsh stance maybe understandable. Research shows that whilst driving under the influence of alcohol (while within legal limit) slowed down reaction by 12 times, driving whilst texting slowed down reaction by a whooping 35 times!
Arguably, the law in Singapore in relation to usage of handphone while driving can be considered tough, but it is not clear whether the Courts here will adopt the rather drastic approach taken by the New Jersey judges, in the arena of civil matters. The writer notes that in the New Jersey case, the errant driver was only insured up to a maximum sum of $500,000.00. In the context of Singapore, there is no 'maximum coverage' when it comes to personal injuries sustained by third parties. Ironically, the texting girlfriend will likely not have the relevant insurance policy.
Nonetheless, at the end of the day, the driver does have the discretion to decide whether to bother with the texts. To hold the "texter" liable for causing the accident appears somewhat tenuous. It is the writer's view that the issue of 'causation' will be a stumbling block for motor accident victims to sue the texting parties, in Singapore at least.
To read more about the case, please click here.