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Apple Tells Users to Not Hang Up on 911 Operators During Accidental Crash Detection Calls

Apple Tells Users to Not Hang Up on 911 Operators During Accidental Crash Detection Calls

With the release of the current iPhone 14 lineup, Apple debuted a Crash Detection feature designed to automatically contact emergency services if a collision is selected. While the new feature has proven to save lives, we’ve also seen plenty of complaints about accidental Crash Detection calls being made while iPhone 14 users were skiing, riding a roller coaster, and similar non-emergency activities.

The last several iOS 16 updates have included fine-tuning of the Crash Detection feature to cut down on false emergency calls, while also publishing new recommendations for users that accidentally trigger Crash Detection. In an updated Crash Detection support document, Apple tells users to stay on the line if an accidental call is placed, so they can explain to the emergency responder that assistance is not required.

If the call has been made, but you don’t need emergency services, don’t hang up. Wait until a responder answers, then explain that you don’t need help.

Apple also removed a line in the support document that suggested users cancel a call during the timer period.

U.S. states reporting false emergency calls include Colorado, Utah, New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and other popular skiing locales.

As you might imagine, these false calls are putting a strain on call centers, possibly diverting needed personnel and resources away from where they’re really needed.

Summit County dispatchers in Utah have seen an increase in accidental 911 calls from skiers. Three to five emergency calls from Apple devices are coming in per day, and so far, none have been activated on purpose.

“You don’t want to assume that nothing’s happening and everyone’s okay wherever the activation came from, so it’s something that we have to go check,” said Shawn Datesman, the 911 Operations Director of Monroe County, Pennsylvania – which is home to Camelback and Shawnee ski resorts.

“We will get a call in that says the owner of this Apple Watch or iPhone has either had a severe crash or they’ve been involved in a car accident,” Summit County Dispatch Center supervisor Suzie Butterfield told KSL.

With many of the activations, people don’t respond at first because they are unaware that the call was placed. “They’re usually like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I was skiing. Everything’s fine,’” said Butterfield.

When the Crash Detection feature works properly it has saved lives. In January, the iPhone 14 Crash Detection feature alerted police immediately, getting help in minutes, following an early morning auto accident in Tasmania.

Five people were been taken to hospital and four horses died after a four-wheel drive towing a horse trailer crashed into a tree stump in northern Tasmania at 1:45 a.m. Crash Detection alerted nearby police, who were able to get to the scene within eight minutes, even though the passengers were unconscious.

Crash Detection is available on the ‌iPhone 14‌ models and the latest Apple Watch models.