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Happy image belies the possibility of FaceTime car accident

Apple Sued by Grieving Family Over Fatal Facetime Car Accident

The tech giant is named in a lawsuit over a fatal car crash in 2014
Credit: Apple
Apple In Court
December 29, 2016

If a driver caused a fatal FaceTime car accident and your daughter died, you might consider suing Apple, too.

Apple has been named in a lawsuit involving distracted driving, FaceTime video chat software, and a fatal car accident in December 2014.

First noted by Courthouse News and subsequently reported by Apple Insider, the suit was filed this past Friday in a Santa Clara County Superior Court by the grieving family.

A family grieving the death of their young daughter wants Apple held accountable for encouraging distracted driving with its FaceTime app, in a lawsuit filed Friday in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

According to the document, James and Bethany Modisette were driving just north of Dallas on December 24, 2014 when they slowed down in traffic and then were hit by another vehicle, seriously injuring James and their five-year-old daughter, Moriah, who later died as a result of her injuries.

The driver who hit the car admitted to using FaceTime while driving, and officers found the app running when they arrived on scene.

The family asserts that Apple failed to implement a feature that the company has a patent for — namely, the restriction of the FaceTime app while in a moving car.

The plaintiffs feel that Apple should have implemented a safer version of FaceTime.

“Defendant Apple Inc. has had the technology to prevent these events, and the Modisettes’ injuries, specifically since at least Dec. 12, 2008, when it filed an application with the U.S. Patent Office for a ‘driver handheld computing device lock-out.”

- Courthouse News

According to Apple Insider, Texas has no law restricting drivers 18 and older from using cellphones while driving on the highway.

The plaintiffs are not asking Apple to implement a lock-out function to prevent a future FaceTime car accident, but rather are seeking damages and expenses for a technology that Apple has the patent for but has not implemented.