According to Distraction.gov, just under 3,200 deaths and over 430,000 injuries were caused by distracted driving in just one year, 2014. One of the most common distractions that lead to auto accidents and injuries continues to be cellphones, and smartphone users not only text while driving but also use apps that take their attention away from the road. While there is a belief that the makers of some smartphones have the technological ability to "lock" phones when they sense a user is traveling at a fast speed, such as when driving a vehicle, none have yet introduced this safety precaution to consumers.
Are smartphone and app makers liable for auto accidents caused by their usage while driving? Read on to learn about two lawsuits targeting the makers of technology that distracted drivers from the road, which led to serious injury.
1. Internet App Creator Sued for Reckless "Speed" Filter
The maker of one of the most popular smartphone apps recently released a filter that can be used when snapping a photo that displays the speed a user is traveling at when the photo is taken. Due to the popularity of this app among teens, many people feel it was a bad idea to introduce an app that could lead to teens competing to see who could snap a photo while traveling at the greatest speed.
In 2015, use of the filter while driving led to an auto accident that caused a man to suffer extensive brain damage. The at-fault driver and user of the app in the collision was snapping a photo of herself while driving at a speed of 100 mph. The man who the driver collided with attempted to sue both the driver and the maker of the smartphone app, but the charges against the app creator were dismissed by a judge citing that the Communications Decency Act protected the app maker from being blamed for any accident caused by its usage.
However, the man who suffered brain damage at the hands of the driver using the app is likely to appeal the decision, and in the end, could see some compensation from the app maker if he wins his appeal.
2. Popular Smartphone Maker Sued for Distracted Driving Accident
Instead of suing the maker of a smartphone app, one car accident victim is instead attempting to sue the maker of the smartphone that was being used during the midst of an auto accident. The auto accident occurred in 2014 and was caused by a distracted driver who was using the smartphone's video chat feature while driving. The distracted driver caused a collision that led to the death of a five-year-old girl and caused injuries in the three other occupants of the vehicle the distracted driver hit.
This case has not been settled yet, so whether the courts will find in favor of the plaintiffs injured in the auto accident or the maker of the cell phone has not been determined yet.
Even with prominent distracted driving awareness campaigns, teens and adults are still using their smartphones and their apps while driving. If you or someone you love was injured in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, then reach out to an auto accident attorney like those at Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy LLC who can determine who was to blame for your accident, so you can obtain the compensation you deserve from all at-fault parties, including potential product makers.