iPhone crash detection can sometimes cause unnecessary 911 calls


Duluth, Minn. – Local law enforcement call centers are raising concerns about a feature coming to both the iPhone 14 and Apple Watches. It’s a crash detection system and the phone reports crashes that didn’t happen.

The iPhone 14 has a new feature that at first glance is a great comfort to have on your phone. It’s a crash detection system that notifies 911 if it thinks you’ve been involved in a crash. But the feature can activate at other times when there is no crash, in some cases the crash report came about because of a rough ride on your snowmobile.

St. Louis County Supervising Deputy Brandon Silgjord says, “If we get a false crash report, especially one on a snowmobile trail. The snowmobile was a big one for us because we would send our rescue team, send multiple EMT agencies and deputies to try and reach these remote locations to locate the victim. Each crash takes up some law enforcement and ems resources, but snowmobile crashes in particular take up quite a bit.

Silgjord says there have been a few of these false crash reports in St. Louis County. The Bayfield County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin was one of the first to notify people of the matter. They reported it on their Facebook page and got a lot of attention.

“We don’t want to tell people to disable the app on their phone or disable the crash detection capability on their iPhone because it saves lives,” Silgjord said. “We have an example last week where we got an iPhone crash detection that was a real crash that required medical attention in our Iron Range District.”

It’s not just the iPhone 14, it’s also the Apple Watch and an app known in many families as Life 360 ​​that can create crash reports. He has a recommendation on what action you can take to help reduce the number of false emergency calls.

“We just ask that you know about it and that you are aware of the possibilities I have if you jump off a snowmobile or anything that could cause a crash, look into it. Check your device and see if it called 911. If so, try connecting to a 911 operator and let them know it’s not an emergency. If you notice a call has been made before, please call the center back, dial 911, contact the center and let us know,” Silgjord said.

As technology advances, 911 centers across the country are starting to contact the tech companies. They want to work with the companies to find ways to improve their systems so that they become better for everyone.