It is not Apple’s fault that a driver using FaceTime on his iPhone caused a fatal rear end collision, the California Court of Appeal ruled on Friday. A three-judge panel absolved the Cupertino-based company of responsibility for the crash that took place on a Interstate 35W in Denton County, Texas, on Christmas Eve four years ago.
Bethany and James Modisette were driving in their Toyota Camry with their daughters, Isabella and Moriah, when they came upon a traffic jam and slowed to a stop. Behind them, Garrett Edward Wilhelm was distracted by the FaceTime app on his Apple iPhone 6, and he did not see the brake lights. His Toyota 4Runner plowed into the stationary Camry at 65 MPH, killing Moriah Modisette, aged five, and severely injuring the rest of the family. In their suit against the $785 billion consumer electronics firm, the Modisettes pointed out that Apple had developed, but not deployed, a specific “driver handheld computing device lock-out” technology.