Two years ago, a family was injured in a car accident, where a driver allegedly using FaceTime on his iPhone drove into their car. A five-year-old girl later died in the hospital from her injuries. Her parents are now suing Apple for failing to introduce a safety feature it patented in 2014 to prevent consumers from using FaceTime while driving.
The family claims that the iPhone maker should be held accountable for the accident, because Apple had a patent for a safer version of FaceTime intended to prevent drivers from using the video and voice call app. However, the company for some reason decided not to introduce the technology to its smartphones. This patent was granted in April 2014 and contains a description of a lock-out mechanism disabling the mobile device from performing such functions as texting while driving. The family believes that Apple’s failure to introduce the patented feature or to warn against using FaceTime while driving was a “substantial factor” in causing the accident.
It must be noted that this lawsuit was not the first of its kind – for example, back in 2016, a woman crashed her truck into another vehicle while checking her iPhone for messages. That accident killed another driver and left a child paralyzed. Those families also sued Apple, claiming that it knew iPhones would be used for texting but failed to prevent drivers from texting dangerously.
Lawyers admit that it will be not easy for the families to prove that it was the device that caused the accident, because a distracted driver could be labeled as a “superseding cause”, effectively relieving the iPhone manufacturer of liability.
Posted by: SAM