(WFRV) – A new iPhone feature is causing problems in dispatch centers all across the state of Wisconsin due to false crash reports.
Apple’s crash detection feature automatically makes emergency calls after the user’s iPhone or Apple Watch detects they’ve been in a severe crash. However, the feature seems to be going off for people snowmobiling.
Bayfield County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Sunday, January 15, 2023, they received multiple automated messages from iPhones reporting crashes that did not happen.
“This feature is great in theory, but when people don’t answer dispatch and dispatch can hear snowmobiles driving around, it is a drain on resources in the area,” said deputies. “We have found that this feature is very sensitive while snowmobiling.”
Polk County Sheriff’s Office is also reporting a similar issue, stating that not only is this feature limited to snowmobiling but also to ATV/UTV rides and downhill skiing.
“It thinks our crazy fun snowmobiling, riding an ATV/UTV, or even downhill skiing is actually a crash based on the noise and jostling of the phone,” added deputies from Polk County.
Law enforcement is required to send out a welfare check on all 911 calls, thus draining resources from fire, law, and emergency service departments.
Those with the crash detection feature can turn it off in the settings. This feature is only available on newer iPhones, so those with older versions may not have to worry about the setting.
Anyone who wishes to keep the setting on should monitor their phone in case dispatch sends out a call to their phone. If users turn the setting off, they are encouraged to turn it back on once done snowmobiling.
On Apple’s support website, it says that crash detection is designed to detect severe car crashes. When a severe car crash is detected, an alarm is sounded and an alert is displayed. The alert says it will trigger Emergency SOS if the user does not respond.
No further information was provided.