Put Down the Cell Phone and Drive!

Sometimes I cannot help but sarcastically roll my eyes when I read a frivolous lawsuit in hopes of changing public habits. This absurd and waste of time cases are similar to the McDonalds Hot Coffee lawsuit filed back in 1992. This time I read where a family wants to sue Apple because of its Facetime application. The suit, filed by a family in Texas, alleges that the Facetime application contributed to the injuries and death of a motorist because the other driver was using the application. While I am sympathetic to any loss of life, I cannot find any legal support for such a lawsuit.


For starters, I think that most motor vehicles equipped with in-vehicle navigation, SirusXM radio information and instrument cluster informational warnings are just as disruptive as being on a cell phone behind the wheel. Sometimes being behind the wheel of a modern day car seems like being in the cockpit of a Millennium Falcon from Star Wars. There are so many buttons, lane assist lights, parking sensor warning tones, collision alerts, loud Amber Alert tones, weather alert warnings, text tones, incoming email beeps, the occasional CNN breaking news sounds and the list goes on for days. Facetime or other similar products to include texting are features never intended to be used behind the wheel. It is the fault of motorists that blatantly ignore laws and common sense that should be banned from driving for causing an accident or contributing conditions for others to be involved in an accident. I would blame courts for not doing enough to stop the trend rather than technology providers such as Apple.


A family member recently suggested that I begin using an application called Waze. This application is utilized by marking current police traffic enforcement locations and provides up to date accident information. There are plenty of implementation flaws with the Waze app. It requires users to identify problem spots and useful text information about accidents, police, road construction or other pertinent information; all while driving. To me, apps like these are contributing to technology failures because they don’t encourage focused driving. Rather these apps encourage multitasking. But they are not worthy of a lawsuit. There are laws on the books to curb texting or distracted driving. It is up to legislatures to improve the stay current with technology and the law. Suing Apple won’t fix anything.


If I had to a moment to improve Apple technology to work in motor vehicles, then I would ask Apple to improve its connectivity with devices that support Apple CarPlay. Each time I hit a pothole my Apple phone could transmit that data to city road crews for immediate repair rather than texting or the need to use my phone while driving. Another suggestion would be those that have a desire to ride my bumper or tailgate other motorists. I would allow the backup camera to snap a photo of the offender and use the backup sensors in my bumper to send data to the DMV to issue a warning about aggressive driving. At least the lack of police presence would be replaced by a credible presence of motor vehicle telematics. If we use technology for smart purposes, then we can improve conditions and reduce frivolous lawsuits. Until then, please put down your smartphone and drive.

Author: Dwayne Daughtry

“You’re punching, and you’re kicking, ​and you’re shouting at me / I’m relying on your common decency?" I tried to become vegan (it was the worst 6 hours of my life), Executive Director - NCRSOL, State Representative (NC) - NARSOL, Legislative Consultant, Blogging Columnist, Army veteran, Arizona State alum | B.A. Organizational Leadership | M.S. Political Science | Ph.D. student Criminal Justice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: