Apple Gets Slammed in Tesla Crash Case for Not Banning Employee Smartphone Usage While Driving

Tesla Model 3

In an unexpected outcome in the Tesla crash case, Apple got slammed by the United States NTSB (National Transport Safety Board) for not having a policy that restricts its employees from using smartphones while driving vehicles.

The NTSB has been investigating the fatal 2018 Tesla car crash case in which Apple engineer Walter Huang was involved, and it slammed Tesla for failing its customer with its autopilot feature. However, even Apple was slammed for not having enough policies in place for restricting smartphone use while driving.

The National Transport Safety Board revealed that the electric vehicle company’s self-driving feature has severe issues. It was mentioned that Tesla’s Autosteer functionality is “completely inadequate” and that the forward-collision warning system did not provide any alert to the driver. Moreover, it was revealed that the emergency braking system did not activate, leading to Huang’s death.

Walter Huang was playing a game on his iPhone that was provided by Apple for development purposes. Although Tesla’s autopilot feature can drive the car on its own, riders are required by law (at least in California) to pay attention on the road, but people seldom do. A lot of videos on the internet show that Tesla owners can fall asleep or get lost in their smartphones when they use the autopilot feature.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt criticized Apple for not having a policy in place that prevents employees from using smartphones while driving. He said that employers pay an important role in preventing distracted driving. In response to CNBC, the iPhone maker said that it expects all its employees to follow the law.

Although Apple has implemented a Do Not Disturb While Driving feature on its phones with the release of iOS 11, it can be deactivated by a user. NTSB says that its goal is to enforce all employers to implement and enforce their employees from banning cellphone use while driving. Apple had been working on a self-driving car project of its own after hiring engineers from Tesla, but later removed over 200 employees working on the project.

Our Take

It seems a bit unfair to criticize Apple for not having a policy that prevents employees from using smartphones while driving. Even if it enforces people to do so, it is difficult for a company to implement it properly. If people don’t follow rules set by the government or its agencies, how can we expect them to follow restrictions set by their employers? Moreover, employees might not like being policed by their employers.

What do you think? We would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

[Via CNBC]