The national debate about distracted driving has moved into another phase with the announcement of a lawsuit by a Texas family against the Apple computer company, holding them liable for the death of their daughter from a crash involving a driver who was using Apple’s FaceTime application when the crash occurred. The family claims that Apple has already patented software that could disable the FaceTime app when the iPhone detects that a user is driving a car, and that Apple should have installed that software on all its iPhones to prevent distracted driving.
Whatever happens with this lawsuit, it’s an indication that technology companies are going to be held more accountable for the growing problem of distracted driving. And it is a problem that is growing sharply. In Georgia alone, estimates are that in 2015, about 1,125 fatal accidents were caused by distracted drivers, which is nearly 75 percent of the total traffic fatalities that year. There are already strict laws on the books in regard to texting — it is not permitted in Georgia while driving — and cell phone use in a moving vehicle is forbidden for drivers under 18.
Whatever happens with the Apple lawsuit, it’s important that parents tell their young drivers — who are most at risk for distracted driving — not to use their phones while they drive. There is too much at stake for a teenage driver, or any driver, for that matter, to try to split their attention between the road and their phone.
If you or someone in your family have been a victim of a distracted driving crash in Georgia, contact Michael W. McElroy, P.C., for a free consultation.