Texting-While-Driving Car Accidents- Can Apple Be held Responsible?

Apple Should Have a “Lock-Out” Mechanism on its Phones, Safety Advocates Say 

According to a recent article from CNet, some safety advocates argue that smartphone makers, such as Apple, should in some circumstances, be responsible for a driver’s negligent actions which result in serious car accidents. In particular, companies like Apple, some argue, should be liable when a texting-while driving collision takes place. As the article clarifies, a driver injured in an auto accident filed a claim against Apple for just this reason. The plaintiff alleges that he was struck from behind by another driver whose negligence caused the accident. At the time of the accident, the other driver, the plaintiff alleges, was distracted by her iPhone use. The plaintiff emphasized that the other driver was still “clutching” her iPhone as she got out of her vehicle.

The plaintiff in this case is not seeking money from the company, rather he wants Apple to take action. Specifically, the plaintiff wants “sales of all iPhones . . . halted until [certain] technology is implemented.” What kind of technology is the plaintiff hoping will appear on iPhones? The article describes a “lock-out mechanism,” which would not require any additions or modifications to the phone, yet it would use “a motion analyzer, a scenery analyzer, and a lock-out mechanism” to prevent texting while driving.

Some safety advocates contend that smartphone makers such as Apple “willfully sell products that encourage texting and driving.” But would these lock-out mechanisms actually work? Some people are concerned that they would not be precise enough and would lock-out users who are passengers in a vehicle, or users who are walking down the street. The lock-out mechanism could also run the risk of locking out other devices in the vehicle. Whether technology companies such as Apple will be held liable for texting-while-driving accidents remains to be seen. In the meantime, however, it is important to understand the very real risks of distracted driving and to take steps to avoid a distracted driving crash.

Get the Facts About Distracted Driving 

How often do accidents result from distracted driving? How dangerous is texting while driving? According to a fact sheet from Distraction.gov, distracted driving is a serious issue. In 2014 alone there were 3,179 fatalities and 431,000 serious injuries linked to distracted driving. In many of these severe and deadly collisions, a driver was texting while driving. The website, which is the U.S. government’s official website on distracted driving, also highlights the following facts and figures:

  • By the end of 2014, 169.3 billion texts were being sent each month in the United States;
  • About 10 to 15% of all drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 who were killed in car accidents were distracted at the time of the collision;
  • Drivers in their 20s are disproportionately involved in fatal crashes involving cell phone use behind the wheel;
  • Drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 are most often observed using electronic devices while driving; and
  • During daylight hours, on average, about 660,000 drivers are using cell phones, sending text messages, or otherwise using data while driving.

Distracted driving has become an epidemic in the United States. Please help keep our roads safe-never text while driving! If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a distracted driving accident, contact a car accident attorney to determine your rights

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