When a motorist is injured by a distracted driver, it’s not unusual for legal action to follow as the victim seeks to recover compensation for the property damage and injuries caused in the auto crash. Sometimes others with potential involvement in the crash are included in the suit, and their specific responsibilities in causing the crash are described in the case.
A suit filed by a California man in January goes further, arguing that computer and device maker Apple, by refusing to implement lockout technology that it has already developed, is in part responsible for an epidemic of injuries and deaths caused by distracted driving crashes. The plaintiff, who was personally harmed when a distracted driver on an Apple iPhone rear-ended him at a traffic light, claims that the company’s inaction has enabled “massive carnage” on American roadways.
Class Action Requested
The suit has been filed as a class action, describing as possible plaintiffs “all California residents whose safety has been put at risk as a result of Apple’s failure to install ‘lockout devices’ on their iPhones.” If that sounds like a large number, it is. But the filing includes some math to justify this broad eligibility. Based on estimates for distracted driving crashes and their causes, as well as the market share of Apple’s iPhone, the suit claims that at least 52,000 accidents are caused by drivers using iPhones in California every year.
The Potential to Prevent
At the heart of the suit is the assertion that despite having a patent since 2014 on technology that would lock out texting and other risky functions when a cell phone is used in a car, Apple has made no moves to actually install this feature on its devices. It alleges that Apple is concerned about the possible loss of market share if it did this, and so it has sacrificed public safety for profit.
Features like a speed lockout are not unheard of. Some individual apps, such as Pokémon Go, already have them. That app essentially shuts down if the user tries to play while travelling faster than 30 mph. Other apps, such as Snapchat (which actually has a feature that some say encourages users to drive at high speed), have not taken steps to prevent their being used unsafely. Individuals have caused crashes because they were using the app and been prosecuted, but at least one attempt to hold Snapchat legally responsible has failed.
Distracted driving has become a major cause of auto accidents. Research suggests that more than 660,000 drivers are on their devices at any given moment. In 2014 more than 430,000 people were injured and nearly 3,200 were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers. In 13 percent of those crashes, one or both drivers were using cell phones. All indications are that these numbers will continue to rise.
Orange County Auto Accident Lawyer
No matter what caused the crash, when you’ve been the victim of a motor vehicle accident you need to pursue compensation for any damages and injuries you suffer. Turn to a firm with experience in automobile accident law. Dickson Kohan & Bablove, LLP offers a free consultation to all clients to discuss their case and explain how we might be able to help. Call today at 1-844-404-2400 or contact us online through the form below to schedule your appointment.