Police say iPhone 14 crash-detection feature alerted them to fatal crash where a Honda Accord plowed into a tree, killing 6

  • Police in Lincoln, Nebraska said an iPhone automated message alerted responders to a fatal crash.
  • Six people died as a result of the crash, which happened early Sunday.

Police say an iPhone alerted responders to a fatal car crash in Lincoln, Nebraska early Sunday, that left six people dead.

The incident is one of the first real-world examples of Apple’s new crash-detection feature. The Lincoln Police Department said in a news release on Sunday that officers responded to a 911 call at 2:16 am “from an iPhone recording indicating the owner of the phone was in a severe crash and was not responding to their phone.”

Police said a black Honda Accord appeared to cross the road and hit a tree in a yard. Five people died at the scene, according to police, including the driver, who was 26 years old, a 21-year-old passenger, another who was 23, and two other passengers who were both 22.

A sixth person, who was 24 years old and the only woman in the vehicle, was taken to a hospital in life-threatening condition, the news release said. Assistant Chief Michon Morrow confirmed to Insider that the woman later died at the hospital.

The new iPhone 14 and Apple Watch both feature the new crash-detection feature, in which the phone or watch can automatically call emergency services after a “severe” car crash if a 20-second countdown reaches zero without anyone canceling it.

The Wall Street Journal recently tested the feature by enlisting a demolition-derby champion to crash a derby car into two parked, empty junkyard cars, with the iPhone 14 strapped to the vents. The derby driver also had the phone and an Apple watch in his car.

The fatal crash in Nebraska shows that the feature works in a severe-crash circumstance. But The Journal’s results suggested there are limits to the feature. They showed that it better detected a crash in the derby car rather than the junk cars it crashed into.

An Apple spokesperson told the Journal that the junkyard conditions “didn’t provide enough signals to the iPhone to trigger the feature in the stopped cars,” such as the GPS indicating the cars were on a real road.

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