Apple Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Seeking iPhone Lock-Out To Prevent Texting While Driving

Texting and driving is illegal in forty-six states and territories. While most people would argue that the person texting and driving is ultimately responsible for their dangerous actions, one court case argues that cellphone companies are also at fault. California resident Julio Ceja has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple, claiming that corporation values profit over safety.

Why would anyone blame Apple for a car accident? Julio Ceja was rear-ended by another vehicle in Costa Mesa, California while stopped at a stoplight. The distracted driver was using her iPhone during the accident. Apple patented a lock-out mechanism that could disable their phones while a user is driving, but has not yet implemented it in software. According to filed complaint, “Yet, fearful that such a device would cause it to lose valuable market share, Apple refuses to employ the technology, choosing instead to allow the massive carnage to occur.”

texting while driving

The complaint also includes references to several studies that insist cell phone usage is responsible for numerous vehicle accidents. The National Safety Counsel’s 2014 injury and fatality report, for example, unveiled that cell phone usage is responsible for 26 percent of vehicle accidents in the United States each year. Ceja also quoted studies that argue that human beings are addicted to their cell phones and therefore incapable of ignoring them while driving. He stated, “The University of Kansas recently conducted a study on the subject, and found that drivers have great difficulty resisting the cellphone temptation because the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for decision making, is fully engaged by the task of driving.”

Ceja believes that Apple’s ability to lock-out phones and the numerous studies pointing to the danger of cell phone usage while driving indicate that Apple is partly responsible for the epidemic. He argued, “If texting and driving is a vessel of trouble, Apple is the captain of the ship.” Ceja is calling for Apple to halt the sale of their iPhones until they incorporate the mechanism and send out a software update to all existing iPhones. He also insists that Apple pay for his legal fees and costs.

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Ceja’s class action lawsuit comes on the heels of another court case. The parents of a five year-old girl who lost her life in a car accidents have also filed a lawsuit against Apple. In this situation, the person responsible for the accident was using FaceTime while driving. The family is currently seeking economic and punitive damages.

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