Pros & cons of Apple’s fall and crash detection in the Midwest

Pros & cons of Apple’s fall and crash detection in the Midwest
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 3:53 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Fall and crash detection, Apple says the feature saves lives. Meanwhile, some officials have concerns that the feature may create inconveniences for dispatchers in the Dakota News Now area.

Apple states iPhone 14s and Apple Watches use fusion algorithms for this feature, and when a crash is detected, users will hear a loud whooping sound.

If the emergency notification is not silenced during the time limit, the authorities are contacted.

Apple cited several examples of how the feature has been used to save lives.

Brookings communications operator Alyssa del Plaine has received one of these calls, where an incident had actually occurred.

“It does the work for you if you’re not able to do the action of calling 911 or call for yourself,” del Plaine said.

However, false alarms can be troublesome, especially for smaller communications departments like Alyssa’s, which does dispatch for several different agencies while only staffing two to three people at a time.

“If an emergency doesn’t exist, and we get calls coming in that aren’t meant to be there, then it ties up our lines and ties up answering those trying to figure out if there’s actually an emergency or not,” del Plaine said.

If one of these alerts does go through on your phone to the police, they will try to contact you again before anyone is dispatched to your location.

“If we can’t get a hold of somebody, then we’re going to assume that there’s an emergency happening and there’s a reason that you can’t answer your phone and respond, so, at that point, an officer or deputy would be dispatched to check on you,” said Jorri Hart, a Brookings patrol officer.

Apple has also tried optimizing its crash detection feature in two updates, one released on Nov. 30 and another on Dec. 13, with the goal of decreasing the number of accidental alerts.

They encourage users to download these updates.