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View Full Version : Texas couple suing Apple over Facetime safety issues



lclev
01-03-2017, 09:21 AM
There is a Texas couple suing Apple because they failed to prevent a driver from using Facetime while driving. The driver using Facetime hit their car killing their 5 year old daughter. They claim Apple failed to install or implement a safer alternative design that would have prevented the driver from using Facetime while driving at highway speeds. The driver is currently out of jail awaiting trial for manslaughter.

I can't imagine just how much pain those parents are in and I understand the desire to try to make sure it never happens to another child. What I can't figure out is how they expect Apple to make Facetime unavailable in a moving car??? And I thought they had installed a safer design - the ability to use hands free bluetooth and a regular voice call.

I understand what the parents are pushing for. I just do not see how it can be done. It is hard for a company to predict and prevent the human who is determined to pursue the absolutely stupid, dangerous or deadly.

Lisa

badshoehabit
01-03-2017, 10:14 AM
Ludicrous. They are going after the target with the most money because the driver is probably penniless and facing jail.

chscag
01-03-2017, 10:19 AM
I too empathize with the parents. California law about texting and driving went into effect this year (2017) and will be strictly enforced according to the authorities there. I wish my own home state (Texas) would enact that same law. It's unbelievable to see the statistics on how many accidents are caused by inattentive driving in the US. Or, the number of accidents and deaths caused by drunk driving.

As for the law suit you mentioned above, it's probably not going to be successful. The parents likely know that but are trying to send a message to Apple or others who may have the same idea to use Facetime while driving. I'm sure they're already suing the offending driver's insurance company and him|her personally.

Zoolook
01-03-2017, 11:52 AM
Ludicrous. They are going after the target with the most money because the driver is probably penniless and facing jail.

Yes I'm sure the first thing on their mind when they lost their daughter was, how do we rake in a windfall... :Angry-Tongue:

Litigation is common here because it's one of the few ways to hold people and/or companies accountable for their contribution to incidents like this. In reality they don't stand a chance and they probably know that, but this is their way of drawing attention to the problem, which may nudge a sympathetic lawmaker or prompt Apple to add some additional prompts to their software (it would not be hard to sense the device is going 60mph and ask the person to declare they're not the driver). But Apple choose to spend their coding time and efforts adding 200 new emojis.

As far as litigation overall is concerned, you'd be pretty hypocritical if you support Apple's lawsuits against Samsung for building rectangle phones, but not this.

Raz0rEdge
01-03-2017, 01:18 PM
What I can't figure out is how they expect Apple to make Facetime unavailable in a moving car???

This is actually very easy to do with access to the GPS which can be used to determine that the phone is traversing distance at a great rate of speed. However, the problem is determining that the person who is using FaceTime or any other application as a driver or passenger. Adding an arbitrary button that needs to be pressed will remove any fault of Apple or other makers, but doesn't solve the underlying issue..

The number of people who seem to be wanting to be connected a 100% of the time with Facebook Live, FaceTime and other audio/video apps regardless of what they might be doing is just horrific. Our best bet is to try to teach the next generation the pitfalls of these behaviors so that they don't repeat it with the same outcomes..

lclev
01-03-2017, 01:36 PM
As I said I truly feel for the parents. The loss of a child is beyond imaginable pain.

Zoolook - I had never thought about having the phone sense speed and potentially locking certain apps. Not a bad idea.

Sawday - I seriously doubt they read anything concerning Apple's T&C. I doubt they did more than lash out in pain and yes, suing seems to be a knee jerk reaction for some people. As for their politics - I would suspect a more liberal slant than conservative - but that is just my observation.

Unfortunately, today we have a society that over the last 20+ years have raised their kids to believe their whole environment is safe so texting and FaceTime should be fine while driving. Common sense is not necessarily present in their decisions. Do I think the parents will succeed in their suit? No - but if their goal is to bring awareness I am fine with that. The obvious person at fault is the guy who was driving the car that hit them. Most states have some laws on the books now for distracted drivers. Unfortunately, unless the law specifically details what the specific distraction was, many do not face significant consequences.

And to be more obvious - no laws would be necessary if people had common sense. Do we really need to text, talk on the phone - voice or FaceTime - while driving? If you absolutely must talk to someone use a hands free device and keep the call short. It is a no brainer but still people do it. Which brings into question - are they using their brain?

I know this is hard for some to believe but I am old enough to remember when I had to wait to make a call when I got home or found a pay phone - that was attached to a cord! I know it is amazing, but a lot of us in the older generation survived with out a portable phone quite nicely. :Smirk:

Lisa

Slydude
01-03-2017, 01:42 PM
Yes I'm sure the first thing on their mind when they lost their daughter was, how do we rake in a windfall... :Angry-Tongue:

Litigation is common here because it's one of the few ways to hold people and/or companies accountable for their contribution to incidents like this. In reality they don't stand a chance and they probably know that, but this is their way of drawing attention to the problem, which may nudge a sympathetic lawmaker or prompt Apple to add some additional prompts to their software (it would not be hard to sense the device is going 60mph and ask the person to declare they're not the driver). But Apple choose to spend their coding time and efforts adding 200 new emojis.


I think all of us wish tragedies like this never happened and feel for that child's family. I also get the point you are trying to make here but I'm not sure any of us would like where it ends up.


Suppose for a moment that Apple had made IOS devices capable of sensing when an automobile is in motion and disables FaceTime. You would have to shut down that function entirely. If you ask someone whether they are the driver or passenger before disabling FaceTime what stops that driver from lying about that other than their personal sense of responsibility? If personal responsibility had come into play a bit more here this situation likely would not have happened.

This driver happened to be using FaceTime. He could just as easily have been making a regular phone call, texting, or for that matter using one of the in-dash entertainment systems (http://www.lightinthebox.com/7-inch-2-din-touch-screen-car-dvd-player-with-gps-tv-bluetooth-rds_p506962.html?pos=ultimately_buy_5&prm=1.3.5.0). I don't drive but, if the device I linked to were in our car, there is no way that it wouldn't be a distraction to the driver if I attempted to use it while we are on the road.

Some states are enacting legislation addressing this issue but it's often unenforceable until after the fact. On any given day thousands of people get away with this kind of behavior because there isn't a police officer in sight. Consequently, the law d9oesn't get enforced until there is an accident.

ferrarr
01-03-2017, 01:58 PM
I use Waze a lot. When I attempt to type, while moving, a dialog box comes up asking if passenger or cancel. It is very easy to click on passenger even while driving.

pigoo3
01-03-2017, 03:02 PM
It really shouldn't be Apple's responsibility to prevent user-misuse of a device (using Facetime while driving). This sort of responsibility has got to be with the human operating the device. Just think of all of the other things folks do while driving that distract them:

- Read the newspaper/magazine. Does this mean that the publisher of a newspaper or magazine must build in some sort of safety feature so a newspaper cannot be read while driving??
- Apply makeup. Does this mean that manufacturers of make-up must build in some sort of safety device that prevents the application of make-up while driving??
- Use electric shaver.
- Eat food.
- Drink alcohol (or any beverage).
- etc.

Does this mean that companies that sell newspapers, magazines, make-up, electric shavers, food, alcohol, beverages, etc...must be held responsible...and forced to build in some sort of safety device that prevents the use of these products while driving?? No way. The responsibility is with the driver!

Smartphones are just one additional item to add to the LONG list of items that can contribute to driver distraction. Many drivers have been driving "distracted" for many many years. It did not all of a sudden start with Apple iPhones.

Unless ALL companies are forced to build in some sort of safety measure/device into all products that contribute to distracted driving. The maker of a smartphone (Apple)...should not be held to any sort of higher standard than a McDonald's hamburger eaten while driving!

- Nick

p.s. Some US states have passed laws against using a cellphone/smartphone while driving which makes it illegal. "Hands free" smartphone operation is allowed (bluetooth, or smartphone mount).

badshoehabit
01-04-2017, 08:47 AM
Read more about this since my original response and apparently Apple patented, but did not implement, a safety feature in 2014 to discourage people from using FaceTime while driving. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/03/apple-lawsuit-facetime-car-crash-iphone-patent

In the UK this would give strength to the parents' action.

badshoehabit
01-04-2017, 08:51 AM
Yes I'm sure the first thing on their mind when they lost their daughter was, how do we rake in a windfall... :Angry-Tongue:


The crash was Dec 24, 2014 so not 'the first thing on their mind' - and I never meant to imply that.

lclev
01-04-2017, 10:37 AM
Yes , the tragic accident occurred in 2014 but they recently filed suit Dec 2016. This article provides more details:

http://courthousenews.com/family-sues-apple-over-wreck-caused-by-facetime/

What is not evident in the article is yes, apple applied for the patent but did they ever fully develop the technology? We can assume they did not. Apple applies for tons of patents on the off chance they will develop the idea further at a later date. The reason for not developing it could be everything from cost to "it was a great idea but it did not work." We can only guess why they did not pursue this feature and implement it in FaceTime.

What is so sad is that the family not only lost a child but the father was injured. Unless someone has gone through the cost of an accident you can't imagine the emotional and financial issues involved. It is so unfair when you get in an accident that is no fault of yours and it results in a death, injury and property loss. There is no financial compensation that can replace a life. And there also is never enough financial compensation to just get through the all the costs involved such as funerals, hospital care, transportation to and from for medical appointments, etc.

I imagine the family took two years to get their lives back to some semblance of normal and then decided to push Apple to do something. This is supposition I know but I get their desire to try to force a fix. I just don't think - even with a safety feature in FaceTime - we can fix the stupidity of drivers who insist on using their phone in an unsafe manner while driving.

Lisa

toMACsh
01-04-2017, 01:53 PM
As somebody's "signature" line somewhere says, "If guns kill people, do pencils misspell words?" (or keyboards!)

Sawday
01-04-2017, 03:07 PM
Surely if there is any suing to be done it should be against the driver who caused the accident, not against Apple. After all he could have been lighting a cigarette, taking a drink, tuning the radio/satnav, fishing for a sweet from the glove box, selecting coins for a toll from his pocket... any number of things. If he was distracted it was HIM that caused the accident not the object of his distraction.

chscag
01-04-2017, 03:30 PM
I imagine the parents have probably already sued the driver and his insurance company. However, insurance companies will only pay liability to the extent of the policy coverage which generally are minimum requirements according to the local state law. And as for personal blame, do we know the outcome of charges aginst the driver? The charge of manslaughter againt the driver will probably not hold up and he/she will plead to a lesser charge.

Randy B. Singer
01-05-2017, 08:24 AM
I too empathize with the parents. California law about texting and driving went into effect this year (2017) and will be strictly enforced according to the authorities there. I wish my own home state (Texas) would enact that same law. It's unbelievable to see the statistics on how many accidents are caused by inattentive driving in the US. Or, the number of accidents and deaths caused by drunk driving.

Actually, California has had a law prohibiting texting while driving for a while now. But the law was flawed. One motorist was cited and he fought it, saying that he was using GPS, not texting, and that the law didn't prohibit that. An appellate court agreed that the law was not written to exclude other smart phone activities.

So, what went into effect on January 1 is an update to the law, which prohibits handling your smart phone while driving, other than to tap or swipe on it's face if it is mounted in your car.


As for the law suit you mentioned above, it's probably not going to be successful. The parents likely know that but are trying to send a message to Apple or others who may have the same idea to use Facetime while driving. I'm sure they're already suing the offending driver's insurance company and him|her personally.

I think that this case will be thrown out at some point prior to trial on a motion by Apple. Even if it isn't, I don't see how the Plaintiffs can win. It's based on Apple's failure to apply technology that is basically just theoretical, and certainly not developed and ready for use in the marketplace. No lawsuit that I know of has succeeded when claiming that the defendant didn't implement technology that no one anywhere has developed and/or implemented.

RavingMac
01-05-2017, 07:03 PM
Frivolous lawsuits only cost the rest of us in the end by driving up prices and insurance.

I am all for going after companies and individuals who ignore problems that end up causing injury. But, no one should be responsible for preventing the stupid and irresponsible behavior of some one else (with the possible exception of your own children).

What is next, lawsuits because scissors manufacturers haven't come up with a way to keep people from running with them. Or perhaps I should sue the maker of my dinner plates because they hold too much and I am getting fat.

This needs to end . . .

Slydude
01-05-2017, 09:11 PM
Frivolous lawsuits only cost the rest of us in the end by driving up prices and insurance.


What is next, lawsuits because scissors manufacturers haven't come up with a way to keep people from running with them. Or perhaps I should sue the maker of my dinner plates because they hold too much and I am getting fat.

This needs to end . . .
Where do I sign up for that one? Or is it that I should sue the dryer manufacturer for shrinking every pair of pants I own?

Jonzjob
01-06-2017, 01:38 PM
Have a look at this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV9a1BX5CjU

Truck drivers have been caught watching films on their laptops while driving!

Perhaps that sort of thing would help. It's not legal to use a phone in your car here in France, but we see lots being used every time we go out. Nobody seems to worry about it.

But, if you are wearing flip flops whilst driving and have an accident then you'd better look out!

Going back to the OP. I can't even start to imagine what it must have felt like to have your child killed in any circumstance, never mind by some stupid moron who hasn't the sense they were born with. But there is a saying about you can plan for stupidity, but someone even more stupid will get around it!

lclev
01-06-2017, 01:59 PM
But there is a saying about you can plan for stupidity, but someone even more stupid will get around it!

Perfect quote! And absolutely correct. That is the biggest problem - we can not bubble wrap everything enough to protect people from their own stupidity!

Lisa

harryb2448
01-06-2017, 03:50 PM
Do not read this Randy!

As I say Lisa 'If it wasn;t for lawyers ... we wouldn't need lawyers!"

lclev
01-06-2017, 11:33 PM
True Harry BUT lawyers still require clients. And in the spirit of full disclosure - my dad was a lawyer. ;D

Lisa

harryb2448
01-07-2017, 12:09 AM
You poor, poor lass! jo wonder you call your Mac Pro by a girl's name!!

Randy B. Singer
01-07-2017, 12:45 AM
Do not read this Randy!

As I say Lisa 'If it wasn;t for lawyers ... we wouldn't need lawyers!"

Well, that is a clueless bigoted statement.

Sadly, folks in the U.S. don't have the slightest idea about how our legal system works, and what they think that they know is more than likely due to a very expensive misinformation campaign that the public just ate up. Have a look at this entertaining episode of Adam Ruins Everything:

Adam Ruins Justice
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nSg2AQiJzg
You may want to skip to 1:35 where they start talking about the famous McDonalds "hot coffee" lawsuit.

Citations:
http://www.trutv.com/shows/adam-ruins-everything/blog/adams-sources/adam-ruins-justice.html

lclev
01-07-2017, 11:22 AM
Don't sweat it Randy. My dad was an amazing lawyer. He always told me there are ambulance chasers and then there are those who practice law. He practiced law.

Lisa

Randy B. Singer
01-08-2017, 03:21 AM
Don't sweat it Randy. My dad was an amazing lawyer. He always told me there are ambulance chasers and then there are those who practice law. He practiced law.

That's great to hear. Actually, because of my user group, I've had the opportunity to meet hundreds of attorneys. The vast majority of them are truly the most amazing people you could ever hope to meet. Sadly there are also a surprising (but still small) number of very scary sociopaths in the profession.

I think that if the majority of attorneys told you the details of the cases that they handled, that you would be very proud of them.

I think that if folks have a look at the video that I gave the link to, that they will be both entertained and pleasantly enlightened.

lclev
01-08-2017, 05:58 PM
Well my three brothers and I were permitted to attend court trials both ones he was arguing and others that were of interest. Years ago in 1975, I actually got to watch James Urban Ruppert's trial (which if you look up his name will give away where I grew up. ;D ) I learned so many life lessons from not only watching the various proceedings, but my dad would review what we saw and we would discuss the outcome, what we thought and what we might have missed or considered. His patience and willingness to put in the time on all of us growing up I later learned was a rare and precious commodity.

Lisa

Rod Sprague
01-08-2017, 11:13 PM
I really feel so sad for the parents. Avoidable incidents like this are infuriating. It has been well said that two most uncommon qualities in people seem to be common knowledge and common sense. I am a big fan of the "Darwin Awards" but regrettably the victims are not always the perpetrators.
Unfortunately the alternatives are what we Aussies have come to call the "Nanny State". Putting measures in place to prevent themselves (or others) becoming the victims of their own stupidity. Breathalysers and seat belt alarms built into cars, beach patrols to force people to swim between the flags and warning signs which state the bleeding obvious in order to avoid litigation.

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