Driver distraction has emerged as one of the most life-threatening safety hazards for motorists in the United States, and recently the U.S. Department of Transportation called on phone makers to help address the problem.
Officials proposed new guidelines for a “driver mode” mechanism in smartphones. The lock-out mode would disable features such as texting and social media as long as the driver is behind the wheel.
In fact, Apple already possesses the technology to support the lock-out mode, but according to a recently filed lawsuit, the tech giant has refused to implement the safety feature.
A man who was injured by a distracted driver is suing Apple for allegedly failing to take appropriate steps to prevent driver distraction.
The suit notes that Apple obtained a patent for the lock-out technology in 2008 and published the patent in 2014, yet no “driver mode” has been installed in iPhones. The fact that Apple has the patent indicates that the company is aware of the dangers of texting and driving, according to the suit.
Furthermore, the suit claims that, because of Apple’s “enormous market share,” the phone maker is the “largest contributor” to the problem of texting behind the wheel.
The lawsuit, which was filed in California, seeks to halt the sale of iPhones in that state until Apple implements the “driver mode” in all iPhones currently being used by consumers.
Preventing distracted driving accidents requires action on multiple fronts, including driver education, law enforcement and personal responsibility.
The Texas Department of Transportation has reported that each year more than 100,000 crashes in Texas involve distracted driving.
For more on some of the safety precautions drivers can take to prevent serious injuries, please see our previous post on safe phone zones on Texas highways.