Apple is new car accident detection function for the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 is one of the standout additions to an otherwise modestly upgraded product portfolio. The focus on user safety is certainly admirable, especially when it comes to calling for emergency help when you’re not in the shape to do so.
The idea is simple. When the sensors in your iPhone detect a sudden impact, the screen lights up and displays a prompt asking the user if they need emergency assistance. If the user does not respond within 20 seconds, an SOS call is made to emergency services, complete with the location of the accident.
However, a false alarm can be quite a traumatic experience for those in your circle of family and friends who receive the ominous warning. Filmmaker Douglas Sonders learned it the hard way when his iPhone 14 Pro Max fell while riding his motorcycle at 60 miles per hour and was also run over by other vehicles.
i activated my temporary phone and had voicemails from mom and girlfriend and business partner panicked thinking i was dead looking for me. Satisfying @Apple crash warning works, sad, scared my family
— Douglas Sonders (@douglassonders) September 18, 2022
Explaining the ordeal in a jalopnik article, Sonders revealed that his bike “hit a bump” while cruising at high speed, and as a result, the “phone” flew off the bike’s handlebars. Sonders didn’t think it was wise to search for his iPhone on a busy highway.
However, the sudden jolt of being thrown off the bike’s mount and run over apparently triggered the car accident detection system. Naturally, the device approached the police as an emergency response measure. But that wasn’t all.
“My phone apparently texted everyone listed in my contacts as ‘family’ telling them I had been in a car accident,” Sonders wrote. Sonders recalled the harrowing turn of events in a Twitter thread, mentioning that his family was concerned and that his partner also started driving in a panic to help him, assuming he was in an accident.
“It nearly terrified my loved ones when I was all right — and worse, I had no idea anyone had received this terrifying message,” added Sonders.
Obviously, despite being potentially life-saving, the car accident detection feature still needs to be refined. However, this isn’t the first time an Apple product has sent a false alarm and worried users.
The Wall Street Journal has reported false alarms going off regarding a nearby AirTag when none were found. There are also complaints regarding false positives of the Find My feature on the official Apple Community forum. Apple’s Own Research emphasized the likelihood of false positives being sent by his controversial CSAM detection system.