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Apple has been sued by a driver whose vehicle was hit by another car, the driver of which was using an iPhone to send an SMS while driving.

The plaintiff is seeking a ban on sales of iPhones in California which do not have a lock-out mechanism that prevents their use while driving, according to Ars Technica.

This is the second case related to iPhone use while driving that Apple faces; the company was sued on 23 December 2016 over claims that its FaceTime app played a role in causing the death of a young Texas girl on Christmas Eve 2014.

The case, filed by one Julio Ceja of Orange County, California, on 17 January, says Apple has long owned technology which could be used to lock users out of their iPhones while they are at the wheel. But, the lawsuit claims, the company has not used it for fear that it may affect iPhone sales.

The rear end of Ceja's car was hit by another motorist who was texting.

The suit says: "This case is brought to address an extremely serious social problem impacting all California citizens: motorists within the state are engaged in the prolific practice of texting and driving, causing the loss of life, limb and property at an astonishing rate. At the centre of the epidemic is Apple’s immensely popular iPhone, a product that has generated hundreds of billions of dollars of profit for the company.

"Apple has the ability to outfit its iPhones with a lock-out device that would disable the smartphone while being used by motorists. In fact, it has had this technology since 2008, and was granted a patent on it by the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2014. Yet, fearful that such a device would cause it to lose valuable market share, Apple refuses to employ the technology, choosing instead to allow the massive carnage to occur.

"This class action complaint seeks an injunction against Apple, halting the sale of all iPhones in California without a lock-out device that will disable the iPhone while being driven by an engaged motorist, as well as an order requiring that the company update all currently held iPhones to install a lock-out device thereon."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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