University of Miami Law Review


Summer Galitz


With an astounding 1.6 million car crashes occurring each year due to cell phone use while driving, it is clear that the United States is suffering from a serious epidemic of pervasive cell phone use while driving. Although a majority of Americans clearly understand the hazards and dangers involved in texting while driving, cell phone addiction continues to keep drivers glued to their phones. Apple has a tool at its disposal to ensure that drivers no longer use their cell phones while they are driving, yet it has failed to implement its technology. Apple's Driver Handheld Computing Device Lock-Out patent, granted in April 2014, would disable all distracting functions on a driver's phone through a lock-out mechanism. As one of the world's greatest social influencers, Apple has the power and the responsibility to change the culture behind texting and driving, and implementation of its patent would be a great step toward eliminating deadly distracted driving caused by cell phone use.

Because people are dependent on and addicted to their cell phones, it is irrational to believe that cell phone owners can, or will, take the initiative to stop using their cell phones while driving. And studies have shown that public service announcements and state bans and enforcement efforts largely have not helped. For this reason, the onus should be placed on the federal government to force Apple and other phone manufacturers to implement life-saving lock-out technology. Both automobile and cell phone manufacturers have the means to change the way we drive for the better, and with the help of the federal government, these new safety requirements that disable drivers’ cell phones when in a moving car can finally be realized. While Apple has exacerbated the distracted driving problem by creating the smartphone, the powerful tech giant has also created the solution. It is time Apple puts its solution to use.