(CHICAGO) – Text laws in New Jersey now prohibit the sender from text messaging a person he or she knows that is driving. Facebook messages, much like text messages, send alerts to smartphones unless turned off prior to getting behind the wheel. Although states are taking initiative in banning the use of smartphone apps while driving, receiving a Facebook message is perceivably and audibly very similar to receiving a text message.
"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," says the Superior Court of New Jersey.
Chicago’s boom of tech-breathing socialites might get a hasty, state-mandated boost of mobile mindfulness. Enacting a law against social media messaging to known drivers, given current traffic laws, doesn’t seem unreasonable in a fast-paced city.
Illinois has had 568 fatal crashes that resulted in 628 deaths to date in 2013, says the Illinois Department of Transportation, and according to the National Safety Council, “an estimated 24 percent of all traffic crashes–about 1.2 million per year–are linked to motorists texting or talking on cell phones.”
There are now 819 million mobile Facebook users, according to Facebook Investor Relations. It’s bold to anticipate that this New Jersey law will affect drivers using Facebook mobile, but it's an effective, free, and comparably distracting communicative asset to our mobile culture. It’s inevitable.