An unanticipated side effect of the new Crash Detection feature on the iPhone 14, which is designed to contact emergency services if it determines that you have been involved in a car crash, is that it calls 911 whenever the user is on a rollercoaster.
According to an article published in The Wall Street Journal, the function has resulted in multiple instances of police enforcement being dispatched to amusement parks as a response to false alarms triggered by the twists, turns, and sudden stops that are characteristic of thrill rides.
Crash Detection was introduced by Apple with the release of its new iPhone 14, Watch Series 8, SE, and Ultra devices a month ago. These products are equipped with a gyroscopic sensor and high-g accelerometer that have been calibrated using the force experienced during simulated vehicle accidents.
If the sensors on your iPhone identify that you’ve been in an accident, it will display an alert and notify emergency services if you don’t reject it within the first 20 seconds after it appears on the screen.
It will play an audio message that notifies the authorities that you have been in an accident and gives them your position when it phones the police. The message will also notify them of the fact that it has provided your location.
An Apple Watch equipped with Crash Detection will only be able to send a notification to the appropriate authorities if you are also wearing an iPhone or if your Apple Watch is connected to a mobile network or Wi-Fi.
However, this behavior occurred on a number of Apple devices at the incorrect time for a number of customers. WSJ reporter Joanna Stern offers an example of one of the 911 calls that was made while the owner of an iPhone 14 was tied to a rollercoaster at the Kings Island amusement park in Cincinnati.
The tweet is in reference to an incident that occurred earlier this week. While the prerecorded message is being played, you can faintly hear people screaming in the background as the roller coaster makes its way around the track.
A month ago, Stern conducted an experiment similar to a demolition derby in order to evaluate Apple’s Crash Detection feature.
He discovered that the feature is not completely reliable. In spite of the fact that Crash Detection was recently instrumental in identifying and notifying authorities about a tragic accident in Nebraska, it is abundantly evident that the tool has significant room for improvement.
Stern reports that since the debut of the iPhone 14, the county where Kings Island is located, Warren County, has received six emergency calls that were prompted by park attractions. In addition to this, she mentions that other parkgoers have reported experiencing the same problems in several amusement parks across the country.
Bringing smartphones on rides isn’t really a good idea, to begin with, but the possibility of making erroneous calls to 911 might be an even more reason to leave the iPhone 14 (and any other gadgets) behind before jumping in that bumper car. If neither of those options works for you, you may always switch your phone to airplane mode or turn off the feature entirely.