After First Responders Asked iPhone 14 Users To Disable The New “Crash Detection” Feature, Apple is Now Attempting to Fix The Issue

Spencer McLaughlin | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Photo: Apple

In September, Apple released the iPhone 14, and one of its most-touted new features is that it can detect a car crash and automatically dial 911. Unfortunately, this feature seems to have many false positives, especially from those who partake in winter sports, and now many first responders are now asking residents to disable the feature.

Crash detection works by using multiple sensors, such as an accelerometer which detects a sudden stop. False positives are so prevalent in part because there is overlap between the indicators of a car crash and the indicators of a skiing/snowboarding crash. These false positives have overwhelmed 911 centers in many small mountain towns, so many of these centers are now urging skiers to disable the feature.

In New York State, the Greene County 911 center has seen a 22 percent increase in accidental 911 calls in the last year, almost certainly due to false alarms caused by skiers at nearby Hunter and Windham Mountains. Similar reports of false 911 calls have been reported in Colorado, where some counties are seeing dozens of these calls every day. These calls are resource intensive since every 911 call is treated like a real emergency. In some cases, coordinates are simply forwarded to resort ski patrol, but in other cases, emergency responders arrive on the scene, wasting limited emergency resources. In Interior BC, rescue teams are being sent out for many false alarms, which can cost teams around $10,000 per rescue attempt.

Photo: Hunter Mountain

Apple is communicating with 911 centers in several areas experiencing this issue, although no fix has been announced. In the meantime, many are urging iPhone users to disable the crash detection feature while partaking in winter sports, including responders in Minnesota. Apple has posted instructions to disable the feature on its website.

Interestingly, as of November, Utah’s Summit County call center disagrees and does not want you to disable the feature as some skiing-related accidents warrant an emergency response. Regardless, hopefully Apple irons out the issues with this feature soon, making it a useful tool for skiers and emergency responders, instead of a burden.

Deer Valley in Summit County, UT (Photo: Deer Valley Resort)

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