As per the patent, Apple should have been using GPS to detect if the person is using FaceTime while driving, and lock the app accordingly.
Apple is now facing a lawsuit from a Texas couple whose 5-year old daughter got killed in an accident when their car got hit from the back by another car whose driver was busy with the company’s FaceTime camera app while driving.
Both James and Bethany Modisette believe that had Apple used the ‘lock-out’ feature that prevents usage of the FaceTime app while driving; their little daughter would have been alive today. The Modisette couple further elaborated Apple has already been granted the ‘lock-out’ patent in 2014 wherein the app is supposed to be using GPS to detect the speed of traveling to dissuade people from using the app while driving.
The incident happened during Christmas Eve in 2014. Both James and Bethany Modisette along with their two daughters, 8-year old Isabella and 5-year old Moriah were driving in their Toyota Camry on Interstate 35. The traffic has slowed down or stopped completely owing to another accident when their car got hit from behind by a Toyota 4Runner.
The SUV was being driven by 22-year-old Garrett Wilhelm and was going at 65 mph when it hit the Modisette’s Camry. So huge was the impact that the 4Runner rolled up and landed right on the driver’s side of the Camry.
James Modisette, who was driving the car along with his daughter Moriah who was seated right behind her father suffered critical injuries. Emergency rescue personnel got Moriah airlifted to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth though the little girl succumbed to her injuries soon after. James, Bethany, and Isabella were taken to Denton Regional Medical Center by ambulance.
Officers had found Wilhelm’s FaceTime app was still active when they arrived on the scene with the 22-year old now facing a manslaughter charge. As per the lawsuit, the Modisette couple have accused Apple of never strongly warning against using FaceTime while driving.
“Apple, Inc.’s failure to exercise reasonable care caused or contributed to the risk of causing Garrett Wilhelm to use ‘FaceTime’ while driving his car … which caused him to be distracted from the conditions on the road ahead,’ the lawsuit mentioned.
It is not immediately known if the Modisette’s legal move against Apple can help James legally. Apple too has not responded to the accusation yet.