On January 17, 2017, a private citizen filed a lawsuit against Apple, Inc. in California’s Superior Court citing that the company’s popular product, the iPhone, is at the center of a serious social problem—texting while driving.

 

The plaintiff, Julio Cesa, is not requesting monetary compensation for a recent car accident where a motorist on his smartphone injured him. Instead, Cesa is demanding that Apple implements lock-out technology on its past and present iPhones that would disable the smartphones while being driven by an engaged motorist. The suit claims that Apple has had the lock-out technology since 2008 and was granted a patent on it by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2014.

 

The patent focuses exclusively on driver handheld computing devices, and states that “the lock-out mechanisms disable the ability of a handheld computing device to perform certain functions, such as texting, while one is driving.” The mechanism could function without any modifications to the vehicle and relies on a motion and scenery analyzer.

 

The main argument by the plaintiff is that Apple is putting profit ahead of safety by not installing this feature on a widely used product.

 

As busy real estate professionals who spend a fair amount of time multitasking from point A to point B, what do you think the solution should be? Are drivers responsible for their own fate? Or is it the responsibility of technology providers to save us from ourselves?

 

According to distraction.gov, five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded—something to think about the next time you’re driving.