Apple Sued Because It Won’t Stop You From Texting And Driving

There’s a class action lawsuit in California that is targeting Apple because according to those who filed the lawsuit, they didn’t implement a lockout system to prevent texting while driving. It sounds like one of those lawsuits where someone is suing the deepest pockets that they can find, but I don’t think that’s the case. In short, I think the plaintiffs do have a point. Let me explain why that’s my view on this.

Even if I plug my iPhone into my car to use Apple CarPlay, it does not lock out the iPhone. That means for example that if I wanted to send a text using my hands rather than Siri, I could. The same is true if I wanted to interact with any application on my iPhone while driving. Contrast that with Android Auto where it limits what you can do. You can’t touch your phone when it’s connected to Android Auto. You can double press the multi-task switcher button and switch to another app, but the home button and back buttons won’t get you out of Android Auto. This is to stop people playing with their phones. When interacting with Android Auto, for example selecting a music track, the UI will not let you drill down anymore than 6 steps. One of the core principals for Android Auto is ease of use and Google is putting a hard limit on how long you can scroll, click and interact with before you can’t go any further.

Now where things get interesting is the fact that the lawsuit claims that Apple was granted a patent that describes a lock-out mechanism in 2014. So clearly, they saw this as an issue. I will also note that one real world example of a company who has implemented something like this is Mississauga based SOTI who via their enterprise mobility management software can do something similar to what the Apple patent describes. Thus the question is, why didn’t Apple implement this sort of functionality in iOS?  If they did, perhaps we would not be talking about this lawsuit right now.

Now there are some who are going to argue that it’s not up to tech companies to make up for the failings of humans, and that humans need to take ownership of their actions. I agree with that. However, I believe that if there’s a piece of technology can make things better and safer for humans, we should implement it if we can. Both having individual humans take responsibility for their actions and having tech that keeps us from doing dumb things should go hand in hand in my opinion.

As for Apple, perhaps they want to take a look at this as an opportunity for improvement that we’d all benefit from. So how about it Apple?


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