Apple has just been sued by a family in Texas who claims that Facetime is responsible for the fatal car wreck that killed a five-year-old little girl. The lawsuit says that Apple did not install or implement a feature that would prevent people from using the app while they are driving a motor vehicle.
Facetime App At Center of Car Wreck Lawsuit
The issue is that the family believes that there is a patented ability Apple has which can allow drivers to be locked out of Facetime while on the road. Apple has not installed or implemented this lockout feature, and that is what the family believes could have changed the outcome of the car wreck that took the life of a five-year-old little girl.
The accident in question was on December 24, 2014, and it involved James Modisette slowing down the car due to road congestion. He was traveling with his family during this time period. A 20-year-old driver ended up hitting the back end of the vehicle and was going about 65-miles-per-hour. The people who were in Modisette’s car were injured, along with a five-year-old, Moriah Modisette, who was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The driver who hit the Modisette’s car ended up telling police he was using Facetime at the time he ran into the car. Noting he was using Facetime on his iPhone 6 Plus. The cops also said that the app was still running when they arrived on the scene, and there was a call also in progress. The use of technology, such as Apple Facetime, has been at the forefront of many problems, including car crashes in the past several years.
The lawsuit said that Apple has the patent on this lockout technology, and this technology has been around since 2008. The patent means that Apple can make the product without competition for 20 years. The lawsuit goes on to state that Apple has failed to implement the alternative designs, such as the lockout feature that is patented, which would be safer and prevent people from using Facetime while driving a motor vehicle. Since Apple has the patent on this, it basically means no one else or no other company can make a product that would work the same way. That leaves Apple as the sole entity that could create this lockout feature for Facetime.
The lawsuit continues on to say that the driver’s actions were intertwined with Apple’s failures to put this patented lockout feature on the iOS devices. It then said that Apple breached the duty of care to those who are suing Apple in this matter. The lawsuit claims that Apple could change the design for little to no cost, and there are no disadvantages for putting this lockout feature on Facetime. The attorneys for the plaintiff did not go into detail about how Apple could implement this technology on the devices for little to no cost, though, so it is unclear how they arrived at that conclusion. When it comes to the laws in Texas, there are no laws prohibiting someone over the age of 18 from using their cell phone while they are on the highways.
The lawsuit is not really demanding that Apple put in the technology, as it is seeking monetary damages as a result of the wreck and loss of the 5-year-old girl. Medical expenses are also included in the monetary lawsuit, so this lawsuit is not about actually wanting Apple to implement the lockout technology on Facetime or any other apps or devices. Apple has not responded to the accusations yet or the lawsuit, as it is likely the company is waiting to go to court before we hear what Apple has to say about this situation.