A FaceTime fiasco a couple of years ago lead to a lawsuit for Apple after a family pointed to the app as the reason for a fatal crash.
In Denton, Texas on Christmas Eve of 2014, a car accident was reported to be caused by distracted driving. The driver admitted to using FaceTime at the time of the collision which resulted in a fatality. A lawsuit was filed to hold Apple at fault for the car crash.
This particular car wreck occurred when the driver was using FaceTime but applications like Snapchat and Facebook Live have also been in the hot seat. Add this to the already common habits of phone calls and text messages and that makes for a lot of ways drivers can divert their attention. With the introduction of advanced communication options, it’s becoming a deadly problem.
In a unique case of distracted driving, one victim was able to hold the entire Coca-Cola company accountable for one driver’s mistake. While the corporation had a policy about not using phones, the lawyers managed to release the individual driver of liability by saying the policies weren’t clear enough. This put the company at fault.
The statewide texting and driving ban was vetoed by Rick Perry in 2011 because he felt it was not necessary to try to control adult behavior with legislation. There are city ordinances, but no full statewide ban at this time*. This means Texas and Missouri are the only states left that haven’t outlawed it entirely.
So, who’s to blame?
The company that didn’t enforce cell phone policies? The creator of the application for not having a disclaimer? The government?
While there are some changes in the landscape of technology that seek to prevent distracted driving, there seems to be no substitute for just turning the phone off and focusing on the road. The impact that distracted driving has on driver safety is staggering. You can see the statistics in the NHTSA report here.
*Since we published this, things have changed. Read about the Texas texting and driving law here.