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Judge throws out lawsuit aiming to put Apple at fault for texting and driving accidents

Apple is facing an increasing number of lawsuits centered around allegations that it is responsible for accidents caused by users who are driving while distracted by their smartphone. One case, however, as reported by Law360, has been thrown out by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Maureen A. Folan…

The case was brought to court by David Riggs, whose son was killed in 2013 when he was hit by a driver who was texting. The driver was charged with a misdemeanor for driving while distracted by his iPhone, but Riggs wanted to place the blame on Apple for its failure to implement a lockout system.

The case was thrown based partly on precedent set by a 2016 lawsuit that likewise argued Apple was responsible for distracted driving accidents. That case determined that to assume Apple was “actually responsible for the ultimate harm” was unreasonable

Similarly, Judge Folan stated in his ruling that Riggs’ agreement for blaming the accident on Apple was “attenuated.” The case was thrown out with precedent and therefore cannot be refiled under the same claim.

“The chain of causation alleged by the plaintiffs in this case is far too attenuated for a reasonable person to conclude that Apple’s conduct is or was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s harm.”

Earlier this year, we reported on a smilier class action lawsuit that aimed to place blame on Apple for distracted driving accidents. The case argued that by refusing to implement a lockout system to prevent texting while driving, Apple puts profits ahead of user safety. That case is still ongoing.

Apple has the ability to outfit its iPhones with a lock-out device that would disable the smartphone while being used by motorists. In fact, it has had this technology since 2008, and was granted a patent on it by the U.S. 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.

As part of iOS 11, Apple is introducing a new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature that blocks incoming notifications while a vehicle is in motion. For texts, there’s an option to send an automatic reply telling the other person you’re driving, while calls are allowed as long as the iPhone is connected to a car’s Bluetooth system. In a poll we ran earlier this year, the majority of respondents said it’s not Apple’s responsibility to create a complete lockout mode to prevent texting and driving.

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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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