Could Apple Be Liable for Distracted Driving? | The Schafer Law Office

Could Apple Be Liable for Distracted Driving?

Could Apple Be Liable for Distracted Driving?

In Texas, a product liability lawsuit was filed against Apple. The plaintiff sued Apple because she was using her iPhone 5 to text while driving when it caused a crash. In the crash, two were killed and a seven-year-old was left paralyzed. It was alleged in the lawsuit that the phone maker could have designed and manufactured its product so that it would “lock out” the user’s ability to “send or receive texts, e-mails, social media posts, messaging, and/or notifications while driving.”

Apple filed a motion to dismiss the case and argued that the lawsuit was an attempt to shift the responsibility of drivers on third-party product providers.

This controversy has raised varying opinions on Apple’s legal and moral responsibilities. Legal experts, for instance, have said that the suit is unlikely to succeed. A Texas magistrate has recommended the case’s dismissal on grounds that it was unlikely to prove that the use of iPhone caused the fatal accident.

Deborah Hersman, president of the National Safety Council, said that while the technology that takes the decision out of drivers’ hands exists, the companies don’t deploy it. It was found that in 2008, Apple filed a patent for a “lock out” technology which uses sensors to determine if the phone was moving and in use by a driver. If so, certain functions like texting would be disabled. It was, however, unclear whether Apple has deployed this lockout technology.


  • Cell phone use while driving causes 1.6 million crashes each year.
  • Approximately 330,000 injuries happen each year from accidents due to texting while driving.
  • In 2011, at least 23% of motor vehicle collisions involved cell phones.
  • Text messaging makes a crash up to 23 times more likely.
  • One in five drivers of all ages confess to surfing the net while driving

My Take on the Product Liability Lawsuit

As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I think that it has become too common for people to blame other for their own mistakes. If you are using your phone while operating a motor vehicle, you are making that choice. The key word is ‘choice’, you aren’t being forced to text and drive, you are making a conscious decision to risk your life and others lives by using your phone while driving.

I have said this a million times but I am going to say it again – texting and driving doesn’t mix. Almost every day, accidents involving distracted drivers happen. We are aware of the danger of texting while driving, and yet, young and adult drivers continue to disregard this fact and the alarming figures that go along with it. If we want to make the roads safer for our loved ones, let’s start by setting a good example. Don’t text while driving, stay focused on the road and by doing this, you will protect and save lives.

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