I watch the news regularly, especially the nightly news, I like to stay caught up on events all over the world, not just locally. From time to time, I hear or read about an incident that I can’t get off my mind. If you read this post, then you are familiar with what I’m referring to. I never saw this particular story make national news, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t. If you haven’t read about it yet, then read the full story here. I’ll give you a summary for the time being.
In 2014 Apple was granted a patent that would allow them to install GPS tracking in their FaceTime application that disabled the use of the app if you were traveling at a certain speed. The idea of the patent was to prevent people from using FaceTime while driving.
In December of 2014 a man named, Garrett Wilhelm was traveling at about 65mph on I-35 in Dallas, Texas when he crashed into James and Bethany Modiste’s car. In the vehicle at the time of the accident, were James, his wife Bethany, and their two daughters, Isabella and Moriah. Police reported that Wilhelm’s car ‘rolled up and over the Modiste’s car.’
Moriah, seated behind her father, James, was airlifted to Cook Children’s hospital and later died from her injuries. Police reported that when they arrived on scene to the accident, Wilhelm’s FaceTime app was still on and he is now facing manslaughter charges. James and Bethany Modiste have filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming they are responsible for the death of their daughter, Moriah.
When I read things like this, I find myself going back and forth between the pain and anger these two parents must be experiencing, and I side with them. Yes, Apple, if you had the ability to prevent something so tragic, then why didn’t you utilize it?
Flip the coin though, and think about Apple’s position. There is an endless amount of technological capabilities they have the power to implement and use but don’t. I can’t help but think this must be an isolated incident. I know you Apple people are geniuses, if you could stop the impossible then you would, right?
There are safety mechanisms on guns. People still die when not handled correctly.
There are warning labels on coffee cups. People still get burned when it spills.
There are iron bars around zoo exhibits, people still fall in, and gorillas get shot and killed.
There are seat belts in cars. People still die in accidents.
Safety measures are implemented as just that – a safety measure, a precaution, a suggestion. They do not, by any means, eliminate the potential for something unsafe to occur. We still have to use our own judgement and although rare these days, we still have to use common sense! People often forget that.
I say this with deepest sincerity and respect for these parents…
Your anger is misdirected.
The problem with your misdirected anger is that you are not only living with the pain of losing your child you are hoping to make a third party (literally) pay for it. At the end of the day, if you make millions off of this lawsuit, it will not bring your daughter back, and it will not remove the pain and grief you will feel for the rest of your life.
If you’re going to sue Apple for choosing (not failing) to implement a design they merely had rights to then you should also sue Toyota for allowing Garret Wilhelm’s 4Runner to travel at a (legal) highway speed of 65mph.
If we condone people to misdirect their anger in courtrooms through irrelevant lawsuits, then I’m afraid we will find a portion of our society walking around with millions of dollars in their back pockets and chips on their shoulders. A courtroom is not the appropriate outlet to search for answers and closure regarding an unfair, unexpected, and unfortunate tragedy such as this.
Money doesn’t buy happiness and lawsuits do not bring people back from the dead.
Did you know… “Texas stands among a handful of states that still do not restrict the use of cellphones while driving for most drivers. Drivers younger than 18 are prohibited from using wireless communication devices. All Texas drivers are prohibited from texting or using handheld devices in school zones” according to the Denton Record-Chronical.
If the Modiste family wants to fight for something, fight for changes in the law. Write your legislators, create and promote petitions, call your local news stations. Inform, educate, advocate, and be a part of preventative measures. Find an appropriate outlet for your pain by being a part of the change in the places that matter. Not in a room full of lawyers and a judge.
Share your thoughts on this situation and the topic as a whole in the comments section. I’d love to hear what others think.