A California man who was rear-ended by a texting driver has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple calling for the tech giant to enable a “lockout” feature that will stop drivers from using their phones. According to a news report in Fortune.com, the lawsuit alleges that Apple has the technology to prevent drivers from texting on their iPhones but failed to deploy it triggering an epidemic of distracted driving and destruction on the roads.
Pressure to Enable ‘Lockout’ Feature
The lawsuit, filed by Julio Ceja, states he was rear-ended by a texting driver and asks a judge to halt all iPhone sales in California until Apple enables a “lockout” feature to stop motorists from using their phones while driving. Ceja’s lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles state court, claims Apple’s failure to activate the lockout feature is a violation of the state’s consumer protection laws. It also seeks to include other car accident victims as part of the class action.
The complaint also points out that Apple filed for a received a patent that allows the company to disable handheld devices using a “motion analyzer” and a “scenery analyzer.” Apple is facing a similar lawsuit from the parent of a 5-year-old Texas who was killed by a driver, who admitted he was using FaceTime right before the fatal collision. Ceja’s lawsuit claims that there are 52,000 car accidents in California every year as a result of iPhones and that 16 people die on U.S. roads every day due to texting and driving.
Solving the Problem of Distracted Driving
There is no question that distracted driving is a huge problem, not just in California, but also nationwide. Beginning Jan. 1, a new law went into effect that would ban all handheld device operation including GPS devices. Drivers in California can perform handheld actions that they can do with one tap or swipe. While lawmakers hope this helps curb distracted driving, others are not as confident.
Critics say states cannot legislate their way out of the problem of distracted driving and that the onus should be on companies like Apple to use the technology they already have to lock drivers out of their phones when vehicles are in motion. As California car accident attorneys, we are eager to see how the new distracted driving law is enforced statewide and whether it helps reduce the incidence of distracted driving.