FaceTime Blamed for Fatal Accident: But Is That the Real Problem?

A woman texting on her cell phone while driving with a scared expression on her face

A family in Texas has filed a lawsuit blaming Apple for an accident that resulted in the death of their 5-year-old daughter. On Christmas Eve in 2014, the Modisette family was driving near Dallas when another driver — allegedly using the FaceTime app — rear-ended them while traveling 65 miles per hour.

What does the lawsuit claim?

The plaintiffs are attempting to hold Apple liable on the grounds that — despite having the ability to do so — the company has not yet incorporated technology into FaceTime that would disable the communication utility when the iPhone is traveling above certain speeds. (The U.S. Patent Office issued Apple a patent for this technology in April 2014, eight months before the crash.)

While Apple disabling FaceTime in a moving car could have prevented this accident, video calls are not the only type of deadly distraction people engage in behind the wheel.

Many Young People Do Not Believe Using Apps Behind the Wheel is Distracting

While many drivers know that texting or talking on the phone is dangerous, many young people do not feel the same way about using apps behind the wheel, according to a recent study from Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions.

The study found that while texting and driving among teens is down (only 27 percent admit to texting and driving) almost 70 percent of teens admit to using apps behind the wheel. Eighty percent “implicitly believe” app usage behind the wheel is not distracting.

More frighteningly, while 64 percent of teens believe using a music app while driving is dangerous, 46 percent still use them behind the wheel. Over 40 percent believe using navigation apps is dangerous; almost 60 percent admit that they still use them while driving.

Why is it so dangerous to “app and drive”?

This dangerous behavior, sometimes called “app and drive,” can be a distraction “triple threat.” For example, engaging in a FaceTime call takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task at hand.

How can I avoid distracted driving?

The most effective thing you can do to avoid a distracted driving accident is to put the phone down. Put your phone on silent or put it in your backseat. If you cannot trust yourself to not check your phone behind the wheel, lock it in your trunk.

However, even if you obey all traffic laws and devote your attention entirely to driving, not everyone does. Distracted driving is a serious problem on Long Island and all across the nation.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, you may be able to recover compensation through a claim against the at-fault driver.

Even though using a handheld phone while driving is illegal in New York, proving distracted driving can be difficult. The distracted driving accident lawyers at Goldstein & Bashner can help.

Call us today to schedule your free consultation: 516-874-4362.

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