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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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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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