Apple’s Crash Detection feature is causing accidental calls to 911 on rollercoasters

Authorities have begun receiving Apple’s car accident alerts from iPhone 14 users riding rollercoasters

Alongside the launch of the iPhone 14 series, Apple introduced new ‘Crash Detection’ functionality. The Cupertino, California-based company designed the feature to alert nearby authorities when the phone detects a car accident. However, one unforeseen result is that rollercoasters are triggering the feature and calling 911 accidentally.

Over the past month since the rollout of Crash Detection across the iPhone 14 line, the Apple Watch Series 8, the Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch Ultra, authorities have started receiving accidental alerts. Rollercoasters have been simulating the impact of a car crash, setting off the Crash Detection sensors. The feature utilizes the gyroscopic sensor and high-g accelerometer in order to gauge a car crash. When activated, the device displays an alert and calls emergency services if the alert isn’t dismissed within 20 seconds.

Examples of these accidental calls are surfacing online. In one instance, an iPhone 14 user riding a rollercoaster at Kings Island amusement park. Located in Cincinnati, the owner’s phone triggered the Crash Detection while riding. This sent a call to emergency services along with an audio message. This message contains an alert that the user has been in a crash and provides authorities with their location. In this instance, Warren County authorities received the alert, which was recorded over audio of the rollercoaster and rider screams. Authorities were then dispatched, despite no accident taking place.

As you can imagine, this creates issues not only for emergency services but for rollercoaster riders as well. Since the release of the iPhone 14, Warren Country has received six emergency calls triggered by park rides. WSJ reporter Joanna Stern notes that this issue is being experienced across multiple parks.

As of now, there’s no failsafe to prevent the feature from triggering while on a ride. Theoretically, Apple could provide an update to allow a temporary pause in the iPhone’s crash detection while riding a rollercoaster. Alternatively, users can put their devices on airplane mode while attending an amusement park. Additionally, users can manually disable the feature on their iPhone 14 or Apple Watch.

Image credit: Apple

Via @JoannaStern, The Verge

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