Is Apple Liable for Not Preventing Distracted Driving?

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iphone-410324_960_720Family of the victims in a 2013 distracted driving collision have filed a lawsuit against Apple. The suit argues that the iPhone maker refused to release software that could have prevented texting while driving, which makes them as culpable in the crash as the driver, Ashley Kubiak.

Distracted driving is becoming increasingly common as more and more drivers adopt smartphone technology. In 2015, fatal accidents in which driver distraction was a factor rose by 8.8% from 2014, according to an August 2016 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report.

Overall, last year the rate of traffic fatalities saw the largest percentage increase in 50 years, and distracted driving is increasing at an even faster rate. The NHTSA report noted that one in every 10 fatalities involved a distraction, although it is unclear if  that refers only to electronic devices or if any other type of distraction, such as eating behind the wheel or talking to passengers, is included.

According to the New York Times, Apple filed for a patent in 2008 for technology designed to lock out a person’s phone if it determined that the person was driving. The patent was granted in 2014 but never implemented.

Last August, a Texas magistrate recommended the case’s dismissal and a Time article interviewing legal experts on the topic casts doubt that the family’s lawsuit will succeed.

Distracted driving in New York is defined as any use of a cell phone or other portable electronic device, such as a handheld GPS, MP3 player, or camera while driving. A ticket for distracted driving costs around $150 and carries five points for a first offense. Multiple violations can lead to greater fines and even a suspended license. If you or someone you love is facing such consequences, you need to seek legal counsel. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law are experienced criminal defense and traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.

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This post was written by Adam H. Rosenblum Esq.

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