A California lawsuit is seeking to ban the sales of iPhones in the state, whilst another seeks damages following the death of a five year old girl in a car crash. The link between the two is Apple's 'failure' to implement a 2008 patent to prevent Facetime being used whilst driving.
It's an emotive subject and I feel for the parents of the girl, who was killed when a driver using Facetime ran into the back of their family car at 65mph. There are also the estimated 300+ other people killed by iPhone use in cars, and that's just in California.
The thing here is that its very hard to argue that Apple is responsible for any of this. Otherwise one would have to argue that every accident caused by inappropriate speed should be laid at the feet of car manufacturers. They certainly have the technology to ensure that speeding could be eliminated as a cause of road death.
It is the people who continue to use their phones whilst driving who are responsible and California, along with other states, and the rest of the modern world needs to stamp it out by making it as socially irresponsible as drink driving.
Hand in hand with an education campaign there needs to be a greater effort paid to detecting users who are on the phone on anything but a hands free setup; and punitive punishments for those caught.
I wonder how many drivers would continue to use their phones if they faced the prospect of losing their driving licence for three months for a first offence and jail time for a second offence?
Changing driver's attitudes, better detection and punishment as a deterrent are the mechanisms likely to reduce deaths from distracted driving. Punishing Apple for something for which it has almost no responsibility for won't.