Tragic, Horrible Accident -- But Was Apple Negligent Or Are They Just The Deepest Pockets To Go After?
I can completely understand that the parents of the 5-year-old who died in this car wreck would want to place blame for this.
But should the blame be with Apple for not having some sort of phone-disabling software for when someone using their phone is in a moving car?
WAZE app senses that you're in a car -- but you can click on it to tell it you're the passenger, not the driver.
Technically speaking, can Apple shut down Facetime or other functions for drivers "at highway speed" (as it says in the lawsuit) -- and separate drivers from passengers in trains, buses, etc. (still allowing them functionality of their phones)?
In the lawsuit, it says there's a "scenery analyzer" that disables the phone for the driver "at highway speed" but apparently keeps it functional for others. Isn't it possible people would be able to defeat this? And what of non-"highway" speeds? You can kill a pedestrian while texting and driving 40 miles per hour.
From the New York Daily News story by Brian Lisi:
While driving through Denton County, Texas, on Christmas Eve 2014, James and Bethany Modisette came to a stop on Interstate 35W due to a traffic incident ahead of them on the road. Their children, Isabella, 8, and Moriah, 5, sat behind them.
All members of the family wore seat belts.
Chatting away on FaceTime and not noticing the traffic ahead of him, Garrett Wilhelm rear-ended the Modisettes' vehicle at 65 mph. He was reportedly on his way to his parents' home.
...In the Modisettes' lawsuit, filed nearly two years to the day after their daughter's life was lost, the family cites Apple's "failure to install and implement the safer, alternative design ... to 'lock out' the ability of drivers to utilize the FaceTime application."
Likewise, the parents claim the company didn't warn FaceTime users that "the product was likely to be dangerous when used or misused in a reasonably foreseeable manner."
The tech giant responsible for the iPhone filed for a patent for a driver lock-out feature in 2008, according to KTLA.
As for the claim that Apple didn't warn FaceTime users, we all see commercials on texting and driving. I'm guessing that a psychologist can make a persuasive case that warnings would be ignored, with people thinking, "It won't happen to me."
In fact, they make this point in their own legal document -- point #20.