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iPhone Crash Detection feature troubles Japanese authorities with false emergency calls

While skiing or snowboarding, iPhone's Crash Detection determines the user's fall to be the equivalent of a crash, triggering an emergency call to emergency services.

Apple iPhone

The iPhone 14 came with a new safety feature called the Crash Detection system. Now, reports have come that Japan is dealing with ‘false positive’ calls due to the system’s automated calls. The fire departments near skiing areas are getting more automated emergency calls than normal.

Due to the increase in the number of automated calls for help when it’s not actually needed, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has urged iPhone owners to be careful about the crash detection features.

The Fire Department of Kita-Alps Nagano covers five municipalities in Nagano Prefecture. Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the department received 134 false calls between December 16 and January 23, mostly triggered by Crash Detection within a skiing area. Whereas, Gujo City Fire Department in Gifu Prefecture received 135 false emergency calls between January 1 to January 23.

While skiing or snowboarding, Crash Detection determines the user’s fall to be the equivalent of a crash, triggering an emergency call to emergency services. Users are unable to react to alerts preceding the call in time to stop it. Calls are also placed to the iPhone to follow up on an automated alert, but if there’s no response, there’s no option but to answer the call.

The feature could also be turned off, however, since it’s an effective feature in cases where a serious accident actually occurs, “we can’t ask users to turn it off”, explains a firefighter. The officers have also asked the public to inform the local fire department about a false emergency call.

Recent reports showed that iPhone’s Crash Detection is causing the same problem in other ski-related areas too, including in Utah and Colorado. For some, the feature has also been triggered by other events, like riding a rollercoaster.