Apple is being sued for something it didn’t do, by a car crash victim who claims Apple has the technology to stop iPhones working while drivers are behind the wheel — but fails to implement it.
The driver in question, Julio Ceja, was rear-ended by another motorist who was distracted while texting on their iPhone.
Apple previously patented technology that could lock drivers out of their mobile devices while behind the wheel, although this has never been made publicly available as part of iOS.
“Apple has the ability to outfit its iPhones with a lock-out device that would disable the smartphone while being used by motorists,” the lawsuit claims. “In fact, it has had this technology since 2008, and was granted a patent on it by the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2014. Yet, fearful that such a device would cause it to lose valuable market share, Apple refuses to employ the technology, choosing instead to allow the massive carnage to occur.”
iOS already has features built in which determine whether a user is driving. (Try setting Maps to give you walking instructions, and then hop behind the wheel of your car to see it amend these to driving instructions.) However, beyond filing a patent it hasn’t publicly discussed using this as a safety precaution, and it’s not known how well the technology would potentially work.
The lawsuit claims that Apple is breaching California’s unfair business practices law, and that it has, “an improper motive—profit before consumer safety—in its failure to install lock-out devices on its iPhones.”