James and Bethany Modisette say Apple was granted a patent in 2014 for a FaceTime design that would’ve used GPS tracking to determine speed of travel to prevent people from using the app while driving, reports Courthouse News. Yet Apple never implemented the design, nor did it strongly warn drivers against using the app, per the lawsuit filed Friday.
according to: NY Daily News:
While driving through Denton County, Texas, on Christmas Eve 2014, James and Bethany Modisette came to a stop on Interstate 35W due to a traffic incident ahead of them on the road. Their children, Isabella, 8, and Moriah, 5, sat behind them.
All members of the family wore seat belts.
Chatting away on FaceTime and not noticing the traffic ahead of him, Garrett Wilhelm rear-ended the Modisettes’ vehicle at 65 mph. He was reportedly on his way to his parents’ home.
James and Moriah received severe injuries from the horrific crash, with Bethany and Isabella looking on as their family members were pulled from the wreck by rescue workers, according to court documents.
Though she was airlifted almost immediately, Moriah died of her injuries at the nearby Children’s Hospital.
Wilhelm’s FaceTime app still running when authorities arrived on the scene, the distracted driver now faces a manslaughter charge. The Denton Record Chronicle reports that his trial by jury is set for Feb. 27.
Wilhelm has been out on bail since August 2015.
In the Modisettes’ lawsuit, filed nearly two years to the day after their daughter’s life was lost, the family cites Apple’s “failure to install and implement the safer, alternative design … to ‘lock out’ the ability of drivers to utilize the FaceTime application.”
Likewise, the parents claim the company didn’t warn FaceTime users that “the product was likely to be dangerous when used or misused in a reasonably foreseeable manner.”
The tech giant responsible for the iPhone filed for a patent for a driver lock-out feature in 2008, according to KTLA.
Apple and James and Bethany Modisette failed to respond to a request for comment
Do you think Apple should be held responsible?