Court throws out lawsuit blaming lack of texting ‘lock-out’ technology in iPhone caused car accident

“A California judge has thrown out a suit brought against Apple by the father of a college student killed in a road accident by a texting driver, one where it was claimed Apple had failed to incorporate technology into the iPhone that would prevent it from working while the user is driving,” Malcolm Owen reports for AppleInsider.

“Judge Maureen A. Folan of the Santa Clara County Superior Court found on Thursday that plaintiff Craig Riggs, father of victim David Riggs, hadn’t adequately pled to the court that Apple bore some responsibility to his son’s death,” Owen reports. “According to Law360, the iPhone suit was tossed with prejudice, preventing a refiling under the same claim in the future. ”

“The suit notes that Apple filed for a patent relating to a ‘lock-out mechanism’ for the iPhone in 2008 that would prevent it from performing certain functions while someone was driving, with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granting it in 2014. This application was used to claim Apple was well aware of the dangers of texting while driving, and that it was an ‘unfair business practice’ to provide the iPhone without implementing the technology,” Owen reports. “In the ruling, Judge Folan advised ‘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.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Again:

What about the legitimate use of texting while in a moving vehicle by passengers? An accelerometer doesn’t know who’s driving – or if you’re in a taxi, on a bus, etc.

Apple’s not at fault here. They just have lots of money and, as usual when lawyers are involved, are being wrongly targeted.MacDailyNews, January 18, 2017

Class action lawsuit demands Apple install texting and driving safeguards; seeks to halt all iPhone sales in California – January 18, 2017
Apple sued by parents who claim FaceTime caused 5-year-old daughter’s Christmas Eve death – December 29, 2016


  1. My condolences to the family!. By law texting while driving is a crimes. If not caused by accident then by tickets, our choices. If the phone rang, sorry! I am driving, I’ll call you back. Bye. Pure and simple.

    1. And Bluetooth ear sets that connect to phones are cheap these days. “Busy driving! Later!” Hang up.

      Oh darn, they’re texting instead? IGNORE THEM until you can safely stop. Where I live, the highway has several ‘Texting Stop’ locations where you can simply pull off the road and text away at leisure in total safety. They are in addition to the usual ‘Rest Stop’ locations.

  2. While I have some sympathy for the family that looses a loved one for any reason, I also feel there should be punishment and penalty for parties that waste everyone’s time with such obviously frivolous lawsuits. We really need to start to discourage this behavior.

  3. What a stupid and frivolous lawsuit. What about Smith and Wesson being liable for a drive by shooting? What about the car manufacturer for putting in a distracting radio?
    Like others, I feel for the family but this sort of garbage is unfair to the taxpayer as judges are on the public dime and it soaks up their time which could be put to better use.

    1. Speedo is well aware that people drown while swimming every day. Speedo even makes flotation devices such as kick-boards or kid’s flotation swimsuits. Therefore, by logic, every drowning victims family should be able to sue (and put this company out of business) for not providing flotation saving devices in ALL swimsuits they sell. ::roll eyes::

  4. my condolences to the family. But your son should’ve known he can’t drive and text it’s just not safe. and Apple should not be responsible for the actions of the person using their products. They are not their parents. You obviously did not stress the importance of not texting and driving.

  5. Apple has already addressed some aspects of this issue.

    When I’m driving I sometimes say “Hey Siri, send a text to my wife – Driving home, back in 45 minutes”.

    On the other hand I don’t always need to do that because my wife and I can continually see where each other is via the Find my Friends facility. Whoever is at home often puts the other’s location into Apple Maps, gets it to work out directions to home and plans accordingly for when they’re expected back. Doing it that way also allows for the traffic conditions that day.

  6. It was a doomed lawsuit. If Apple had implemented the tech, it would be an option because passengers in a car can do whatever they want on their phones and they wouldn’t want their phones disabled. So Apple would have to have an option to turn it off. And there’s no way to prove that his son wouldn’t have just turned off that feature.

  7. Sue the texting driver but no deep pockets there. California law says no texting while driving but we all do it. I guess we should help ourselves and Apple by just saying no to texting while driving. But does the public at large care about anything that takes self control?

  8. What’s next? sue fire arms companies for not implementing a system for the gun to know when its legitimate fired? to sue knife makers for not implementing a system for the knife to know when it is going after clock meat or when its going after a living person?

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