Apple has introduced its newest iPhones and Watch 8 series, both of which have the capacity to automatically place a call to emergency services in the event that the device comes to a sudden stop, which is typically the consequence of an accident involving a vehicle.
According to a story from The Colorado Sun, the function is already producing the opposite of the desired effect, as one US ski town has received 71 crash notifications. According to the Summit County 911 Center, none of these calls were actually an emergency; the skiers had just come to an abrupt stop on the slopes, but they did not require medical assistance.
The “crash detection” and “fall detection” features of the iPhone 14 series will immediately dial 911 in the event of either of those occurrences. After then, the emergency center places a second call to the phone, and if the caller does not pick up, it is assumed that they have been involved in an accident, which necessitates the dispatch of an emergency vehicle.
Although each of these calls required “a great number of resources,” such as dispatchers, deputies, and ski patrollers, according to Trina Dummer, the interim director of the Summit County 911 center, none of them actually included a situation where there was a need for immediate assistance. On the icy hills and slopes, dispatchers are fielding automated calls, which means that they are distracted from a true emergency that could save the life of another person.
Around twenty automated calls are received daily by dispatchers working for Grand County, the Vail Police Department, and Pitkin County, respectively. They attempt to get in touch with each individual skier, but frequently the skiers have their phones buried so deeply in the pockets of their many layers of gear that they are unable to answer the phone. This causes the rescue workers to search the last known location of the iPhone. Responders to cries for assistance almost never ignore them because they are unable to determine which ones involve an actual emergency.
Apple has reacted to dispatch supervisors, disclosing that it is aware of the clash between skiers and the accident detection technology, and the team in Cupertino is working on a resolution, according to Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin. Schroetlin said Apple is working on a solution.