Throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S., distracted driving is becoming a bigger safety issue. In fact, data from the U.S. Department of Transportation reveals that about 1.5 million American motorists are texting while driving at any given daylight moment. Road safety organizations and federal agencies have called on large electronics manufacturers to develop features that could make their devices more difficult for drivers to use. Class-action litigation filed against Apple has revealed that these features are already available but have not been offered to the public.
The lawsuit, which was recently filed by a group of accident victims in California, describes a feature developed by Apple in 2008 that prevents drivers from sending or receiving text messages. Apple was awarded a patent for the texting lockout technology in 2014. The litigation demands that Apple make the safety feature available to current iPhone owners and incorporate it in new models of the popular smartphone.
The plaintiffs will try to establish that Apple either knew or should have known that withholding the texting feature would lead to more distracted driving accidents and more serious injuries and deaths. A National Safety Council study linked texting while behind the wheel with more than a quarter of U.S. car accidents. With a commanding 40 percent market share, Apple is the largest player in the smartphone sector.
Large corporations often seek to settle litigation swiftly and discreetly. Personal injury attorneys may be willing to cooperate with them if the terms on offer are advantageous to their clients. Manufacturers may wish to settle these cases because they fear being flooded with similar lawsuits, and accident victims could choose to accept settlement offers to avoid protracted legal battles against defendants with deep pockets.