Phone Makers Could Cut Off Drivers. So Why Don't They?
Posted in: Mobile & Wireless at 28/09/2016 20:41
The court filings paint a grisly picture: As Ashley Kubiak sped down a Texas highway in her Dodge Ram truck, she checked her iPhone for messages. Distracted, she crashed into a sport utility vehicle, killing its driver and a passenger and leaving a child paralyzed.
With driving fatalities rising at levels not seen in 50 years, the growing incidence of distracted driving is getting part of the blame. Now a lawsuit related to that 2013 Texas crash is raising a question: Does Apple -- or any cellphone maker or wireless company -- have a responsibility to prevent devices from being used by drivers in illegal and dangerous ways?
The product liability lawsuit, filed against Apple by families of the victims, contends that Apple knew its phones would be used for texting and did not prevent Ms. Kubiak from texting dangerously. The suit is unlikely to succeed, legal experts said, and a Texas magistrate in August preliminarily recommended the case's dismissal on grounds that it was unlikely that lawyers could prove that the use of the iPhone caused the fatal accident.
The product liability case has brought to light a piece of evidence that legal and safety experts say puts Apple in a quandary -- one it shares with other wireless companies. In Apple's case, the evidence shows, the company has a patent for technology designed to prevent texting while driving, but it has not deployed it.