Fifth Circuit Holds Distracted Driving Crashes Not Fault of Apple
The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit brought against Apple Inc. after a tragic 2013 Texas car crash. A driver had taken her eyes from the road to read a text message before crashing her truck into the vehicle in front of her. Two women lost their lives and a boy was paralyzed. This was a case of first impression in Texas. There have been few appellate rulings on the liability of smart phone and application makers in distracted driving crashes so this decision, although hardly a surprise, was awaited.
In Meador v. Apple, Inc., 17-40968, the court strongly rejected the negligence and strict product liability claims. The plaintiffs had alleged that Apple failed to install the software granted in its 2008 patent that would lock the iPhone while the vehicle was moving, that Apple failed to warn drivers, and that it failed to recognize the unconscious neurobiological response in a driver induced by the phone.