Illinois residents who have been injured in accidents in which a driver was distracted by a cellphone phone may be interested to learn that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple. The plaintiffs are asking Apple to install a safety lock feature in all new iPhones sold in the state of California and to update older phones with the feature. Apple has had the technology since 2008 and patented the safety lock in 2014.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents. Texting and driving or talking on a phone behind the wheel without a hands-free device is illegal in most states but hard to enforce. Drivers may not be truthful about their cellphone habits, and it may be difficult to detect when a person is using a smartphone or other devices while driving. An officer must obtain a warrant to check a phone to see if a driver was using it at the time of the accident, and this process can be time-consuming.
The lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit was at a stoplight when she was hit from behind by a driver using an iPhone. A month earlier, a family whose 5-year-old daughter was killed in an accident involving a distracted driver with an iPhone also filed a lawsuit. For these actions to be successful, it will be necessary to prove that Apple was aware of the danger but failed to prevent it by installing the technology.
An injured victim who files a lawsuit with the assistance of counsel after a car accident might be seeking compensation to help cover medical bills and other losses. However, in other cases, the primary purpose might be to compel a company to do something that makes people safer in the future.