Apple is at the center of a class-action lawsuit filed by a man who claims that the company was negligent in its failure to implement an anti-distracted driving safety feature that it had patented.
The California man was involved in an accident in which he was rear-ended by a motorist, who was using her iPhone while driving. He suffered back injuries, and also suffered extensive damage to his vehicle.
He has now filed a class action lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the smart phone maker had patented a lockout mechanism which would have helped prevent an accident like his. This lockout mechanism disables smart phones, preventing a motorist from performing functions like texting while driving. While Apple has patented the technology, it has not added the lockout technology to its best-selling devices. This decision by Apple was made even though the company was very clearly aware of the dangers of distracted driving.
In fact, in its patent, Apple describes the features of the lockout mechanism, and acknowledges that there are serious dangers involved when people use smartphones while driving. The patent also highlights the challenges that law enforcement faces in enforcing laws governing the use of cell phones while driving. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of people are simply addicted to their smart phones, and are now used to being connected 24/7.
The plaintiff and his personal injury lawyer hopes to change this state of affairs. With his class-action lawsuit, he wants to force Apple to implement this technology in all of its phones. According to the man’s lawyers, it is now time to hold the manufacturers of these technologies responsible for all the distractions that their products are causing while driving.
If the court rules that Apple must include the lockout technology in all its phones, this could have a ripple effect across the industry, and send other manufacturers scrambling to include such technology in their phones. That would probably mean a significant reduction in the number of people who are able to use cell phones to text or talk while they are driving.
However, until there is mandated technology that makes it impossible for people to use a cell phone while driving, it is important for motorists to take precautions and be responsible drivers. Switch off your phone, or keep it on mute while in the car. It’s one of the simplest ways to get home safe.