Stephen L. Joseph, a lawyer from Los Angeles who achieved positive results stemming from lawsuits against the food industry over trans-fats has now targeted the tech industry. The reason for the lawsuit? He believes companies such as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, and Google produce devices that encourage drivers to focus on everything but the road while they’re driving. The lawsuit claims that these tech companies have a moral responsibility to help stop the problem of distracted driving. While Apple made no formal comment on the lawsuit, it did point out that drivers have the ability to turn off their phones and devices or engage settings that can limit the distractions – basically saying that it is the driver’s responsibility to limit distractions before they start driving.
The legal grounds for the lawsuit rest in “public nuisance” laws, which typically refer to community disruption, though law suits filed under the public nuisance law have been used to address public health issues. Experts expect the lawsuit to be throw out due to the fact that most public nuisance lawsuits have failed in court. This is true, but Mr. Joseph has filed other lawsuits that were ultimately thrown out – the trans-fat lawsuit and a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles regarding graffiti – that still generated a lot of publicity and led to the changing of practices in those areas.
Do you think tech companies have a responsibility when it comes to distracted driving? Or is it up to the driver to make their own decisions?