A USA family is suing Apple after a man using the FaceTime app on his iPhone while driving collided with their vehicle, killing their five-year-old daughter. Behind them, Garrett Wilhelm was reportedly operating a Toyota 4Runner at 65 miles per hour while using FaceTime.
While Bethany and the older daughter managed to escape the vehicle, James and 5-year-old Moriah had to be extracted by rescue workers.
The lawsuit explains that the patent filed by Apple described, among other things, a lock-out mechanism configured to disable one or more iPhone functions when the motion analyser picks up that the iPhone user is travelling at a speed over a set predetermined limit.
James and Bethany Modisette say Apple was granted a patent in 2014 for a FaceTime design that would've used Global Positioning System tracking to determine speed of travel to prevent people from using the app while driving, reports Courthouse News. Apple filed a patent for such a feature in 2008, but it has never been launched.
Wilhelm's vehicle rolled "up and over the driver's side of the Modisette auto", the lawsuit states.
Wilhelm told police who responded to the crash that he was using the FaceTime app on his iPhone when the crash occurred. The suit states that the tech company also applied for a patent in 2008 and was issued the patent on December 14. Wilhelm faces a manslaughter charge, according to the report.
With this in consideration, the Modisettes are now seeking damages from Apple for its "wrongful failure" to install and implement the feature which could possibly make driving safer.
The driver, Garret Wilhelm admitted to the police that he was using FaceTime on his iPhone at the time of the crash. But Apple's failures "were a substantial factor in causing the plaintiffs' injuries and decedent's death", the lawsuit states.
"However, Apple failed to configure the iPhone to automatically "lock out" the ability to utilise "FaceTime" while driving at highway speeds, despite having the technical capability to do so, and the knowledge that the use of the iPhone while driving at highway speeds created and unreasonable risk of harm to users and innocent bystanders". Despite admitting to using the phone, Wilhelm's lawyer, Ricky Perritt, does not feel the device contributed to the crash. Apple, as is standard procedure for the company when it comes to pending litigation, declined to comment on the situation.