July 22, 2024

911 Dispatchers Say Skiers Are Accidentally Setting Off Apple’s New Crash-detection Technology Without Realizing

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Emergency dispatchers in a Utah county told local news that they’re seeing more accidental 911 calls from skiers.Dispatchers told KSL.Com the calls are from Apple devices with a new crash-detection feature.People should keep the turned on, even with accidental triggering, the dispatchers said.

Emergency dispatchers in a county in Utah told a local news outlet that they’re seeing a rise in accidental 911 calls from skiers who have new Apple products with its crash-detection technology.

Suzie Butterfield, a Summit County Dispatch Center supervisor, told KSL.Com that dispatchers have been getting phone calls alerting them to “a severe crash or they’ve been involved in a car accident.”

Apple’s crash-detection technology sends users a message with an alarm sound if it detects a crash. The message can be dismissed, but if it’s not within 20 seconds, the technology sends an automated message to the closest emergency call center with the caller’s GPS coordinates and their number to call back.

iPhone 14 and 14 Pro, as well as the Apple Watch Series 8, SE, and Ultra all have the crash detection technology. 

Butterfield said when dispatchers answer one of the calls triggered from skiers who didn’t actually crash, they don’t usually respond because they don’t know they’ve made the call. 

“But on callback … They’re usually like https://newznav.com/, ‘Oh I’m sorry, I was skiing. Everything’s fine,'” Butterfield told KSL.Com, adding that she gets anywhere between three to five 911 calls each day from Apple products, but none were made on purpose.

If dispatchers are unable to reach the person who triggered the alert, ski patrol is contacted instead, according to KSL.Com.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider ahead of publication.

Even with accidental triggering of the technology, the report highlights that dispatchers still view the crash-detection technology as a positive, and recommend people keep it turned on.

“We do not want you to turn the feature off,” Butterfield said. “We would rather have you be safe. We don’t mind taking that call because if something really did happen, we want to be able to get to you.”

The crash-detection feature has also set off accidental 911 calls for users who were riding roller coasters, The Wall Street Journal reported in October. 

A spokesperson for Apple told the WSJ at the time that its feature is “extremely accurate in detecting severe crashes” and the company will continue to improve it. 

The Dollywood amusement park has put up warnings for two of its most intense roller coasters, warning Apple users that the “dynamic movement” of the ride could activate an emergency call from Apple watches and iPhones.


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