Apple Sued Over Texting While Driving Accident

Can I hold my cell phone in my hand while driving in California?

A driver who was injured by a driver who was allegedly distracted while texting on an iPhone recently filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. The suit claims that Apple willfully sells products that encourage texting and driving.

The Apple Lawsuit

The injured driver was apparently hit from behind by woman who was reportedly still clutching her phone after the accident. The lawsuit is not seeking damages from Apple, rather the plaintiff is demanding that all iPhone sales be halted until the company implements “lockout” technology into its phones which would prevent a cell phone from being used while driving.

The lawsuit cites an Apple patent for such a device that was granted in 2014. The device can reportedly provide a lockout mechanism that does not require modifications to the vehicle. Instead, it relies on  motion and scenery analyzers that trigger the lockout feature. Despite the fact that Apple patented this technology, there are questions as to whether it will actually work.

Nonetheless, the lawsuit claims that Apple is putting profits ahead of driver safety, that texting and driving remains a serious problem in California, and that the iPhone, because of its immense popularity, is the cause of many accidents. The lawsuit extrapolates the number of accidents attributable to the iPhone based on the number the devices sold in California from the total number of accidents caused by distracted cell phone users.

The Perils of Distracted Driving

One of the leading causes of car accidents in distracted driving whether from talking to passengers, tuning the radio, eating, or drinking, or using GPS devices. Of course, the use of cell phones for texting or talking is a common reason for distracted driving leading to thousands of injuries and deaths each year.  California law has previously prohibited talking or texting with hand held devices, and these laws were toughened late last year: it is now illegal to hold a cell phone in your hand while driving.

The Takeaway

At this juncture, it is unclear it the plaintiff will prevail, but this case has far reaching implications. At the same time, given the state’s tough ban on cell phone use while driving, a case could also be made against the offending driver. In any event, if you were injured in an car accident in Northern or Southern California, the J&Y law firm can help you obtain meaningful compensation.