Tags: apple | facetime | lawsuit | distracted | driving

Apple FaceTime Lawsuit Targets App in Distracted Driving Case

Image: Apple FaceTime Lawsuit Targets App in Distracted Driving Case

Moriah Modisette of Cross Roads, Texas, was killed when Garrett Edward Wilhelm rear-ended her family’s vehicle at full speed in 2014. (Screengrab from Twitter)

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Jan 2017 02:28 PM

Apple's FaceTime app is the target of a civil lawsuit filed in Santa Clara County, California Superior Court last week in connection with a 2014 accident that happened in Dallas where a 5-year-old girl was killed.

James and Bethany Modisette charged in the lawsuit that Apple was responsible for encouraging distracted driving with its FaceTime app, stating that the company has a patent for a "safer" version but had elected to create a less-safe version for its iPhone 6, Courthouse News reported.

Garrett Wilhelm, 22, of Keller, Texas, is facing felony manslaughter charges in the Dec. 24, 2014 death of Moriah Modisette in Denton County, Texas, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.

Prosecutors accused Wilhelm of video chatting in his SUV when he slammed into the back of the Modisette's vehicle which had stopped on Interstate 35 along with other vehicles because of an incident ahead of them, the newspaper said. Wilhelm allegedly struck the Modisette vehicle going 65 miles per hour, killing the girl and injuring her father.

Wilhelm's criminal trial has been postponed to Feb. 27, the Record-Chronicle noted.

In the lawsuit against Apple, the Modisette family charged that Apple's "failure to install and implement the safer, alternative design for which it sought a patent in December 2008 (later issued by the United States Patent Office in April 2014) to 'lock out' the ability of drivers to utilize the 'FaceTime' application on the Apple iPhone when driving a motor vehicle, which resulted in the injuries sustained by plaintiffs," noted the Courthouse News.

The family claimed Apple had the capability of using GPS tracking to determine the speed of a vehicle using FaceTime and shut it down, but failed to use the technology, the Courthouse News said. The family charged in the lawsuit that the crash could have been avoid with such use, per the Courthouse News.

The Modisette case appears to be another example of accidents caused by driver's attention to smartphones. Mark A. Oldenburg, 28, of Dover, Delaware, was charged with inattentive driving in July after he allegedly attempted to locate a Pokemon Gym at Rehoboth Beach and hit a patrol car, according to the Rehoboth Beach website.

The CBC News reported Dec. 29 that an 18-year-old teenager was charged under the Traffic Safety Act in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, after he hit a concrete barrier and rolled on his rooftop while allegedly texting.

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Apple FaceTime is the target of a civil lawsuit filed in Santa Clara County, California Superior Court last week in connection with a 2014 accident that happened in Dallas where a 5-year-old girl was killed.
apple, facetime, lawsuit, distracted, driving
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2017-28-03
Tuesday, 03 Jan 2017 02:28 PM
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