A teenager and her father have been named defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a very recent fatal motorcycle crash in New Jersey.
According to The Daily Record, the 47-year-old motorcyclist, married for 27 years, died within minutes of being struck on Route 15 in the city of Jefferson. The teen was reportedly attempting to cross the road shortly after 5 p.m., but she entered the roadway at the same time the motorcyclist was passing.
The girl has not as of this writing been charged with any criminal offense, although she was issued a summons for unsafe lane change. She was also cited for having three other teens in the vehicle at the time of the crash, which is a violation of the state’s graduated driver’s license program. Additionally, there was no red decal her vehicle’s license plate to indicate she was a teenage driver, a requirement of Kyleigh’s Law. New Jersey is the only state to have a law requiring teenage driver decals, with the goal of making young drivers readily identifiable to police. This law additionally sets a curfew of 11 p.m. for those driving with a learner’s permit, it limits the amount of passengers who can ride in a car with a teen driver and bars motorists from the use of handheld electronic devices.
Whether distraction played a role in the death of Richard Mark Bianculli Sr. remains to be seen. What we do know is that this driver had three teen passengers in the vehicle at a time when she was restricted to just one passenger (let alone youthful passengers) unless she had a parent or guardian in the vehicle, which was not the case. Because she was driving her father’s vehicle, he may be found vicariously liable solely for that reason. However, he might be found directly negligent for failing to ensure the decals were on the vehicle and failing to properly supervise his daughter in limiting the number of passengers in the car. It is alleged he negligently entrusted the vehicle to his daughter, knowing she was going to be in violation of state law. Continue reading