Apple Sued For Role Claimed In Facetime Distraction Suit
Here’s an interesting question: Who is responsible for distracted driving? Is it the driver or is it the computer manufacturer who provided the cause of the distraction? The following story lays it out pretty clearly.
A family of four, Bethany and James Modisette of Dallas, and their daughters Isabella and Moriah were stopped in traffic near Dallas on Dec. 24, 2014.
Second Driver Using Facetime In Videochat
Meantime, traveling on the road behind them another driver – Garrett Wilhelm – was videochatting, using Apple’s Facetime on his iPhone while driving his Toyota 4Runner. Driving at about 65 mph, Wilhelm failed to notice the traffic ahead had stopped, and he slammed his 4Runner slammed into the Camry carrying the young family.
The impact caused the compact family sedan to spin around 180 degrees, so it was facing the 4Runner. The 4Runner then slammed into the Camry again. However, in the second impact, the SUV traveled along the driver’s side of the vehicle, causing the most severe injuries to the father and his 5-year-old daughter. The horrific crash crushed the Camry and injured all family members.
James was taken to a local hospital in critical condition while his little girl was med-flighted to a children’s hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. Bethany and her other daughter were treated at a regional medical center.
Meantime, at the scene of the crash, according to papers filed in court, the operator told police he had been using Facetime, videochatting with another person at the time of the December 24, 2014, accident. Police found his iPhone with the Facetime app still open and active.
A grand jury later indicted Wilhelm for manslaughter in 2015 and is awaiting trial next month.
Apple Named In Accident Suit
Now the family of the little girl, Moriah Modisette, has filed suit against Apple in California Superior Court, Santa Clara County, claiming the technology was available to cut off the Facetime app from being used at highway speeds. Their lawsuit maintains that the computer manufacturer was at fault in the accident for failing to implement the feature that would have prevented the operator, Garrett Wilhelm, from using the Facetime app while driving.
Two questions arise from this:
- Are the accident and little girl’s death the sole responsibility of the operator?
- Does the computer manufacturer bear some responsibility?
According to comments that have appeared regarding this issue, a large number of people believe it is totally the responsibility of the operator who plowed into the family car and killed the little girl. Because it is the responsibility of a driver to operate in a safe manner.
There are others, a distinct minority, who believe the computer manufacturer bears responsibility for this accident as the Facetime app includes the hardware hook that would prevent drivers from using the app at high speed. How do you feel?
Frankly, we believe that there’s a split here as the videochatting driver should be held responsible for slamming the vehicle his chat prevented him from seeing. However, we think, too, that a computer manufacturer just can’t continue to sit in an ivory tower away from the results of the actions of its applications.
Apple Has No Comment
Apple has refrained from comment on this as it does not comment on pending court matters. By the way, this is the second similar case against the computer manufacturer right now for a similar issue in the same state.
Sources: ABC News, thecarconnection.com