MADISON (WKOW) — When Madison resident Mike Masse left his house and hopped in his car one afternoon, he wasn’t prepared for what was about to happen next.
“I was sitting at a stoplight and ended up getting rear ended by a drunk driver, who then took off in that process,” Masse said. “I wasn’t expecting it.”
But for Masse, what was really unexpected, was what happened next.
After assessing the damage and checking on the occupant of another vehicle that was also hit, Masse started looking for his phone to alert the police only to realize — his phone had already done it for him.
“It automatically called 9-1-1,” Masse said. “And it notified the person that I had listed as an emergency contact and basically sent them a map of where I was.”
By the time Masse turned around, police were already arriving. His iPhone 14 had made use of a new technology that Apple just unveiled this fall — crash detection.
The new technology automatically alerts the police and an emergency contact, if it detects that you’ve been in an accident and aren’t responding to on-screen prompts.
While Masse wasn’t debilitated, he says he believes the technology could be useful for those who are seriously injured in a crash.
In Masse’s case, the technology also helped law enforcement track down the drunk driver and make an arrest shortly after the crash.
“I think it really worked well, because emergency services showed up really quickly,” Masse said. “Because of that, they were able to track down the individual that had left the scene as well.”
Madison College marketing professor and self-proclaimed tech junkie Steve Noll says the new technology could save lives and is pretty simple to understand.
“Part of it is how fast the phone is turning,” Noll said. “So if a person is maybe watching a video, and they’re turning their phone back and forth to see — does it look better this way or this way? The phone should know that that’s very different than quickly turning, which is what would happen in a rollover accident.”
The iPhone 14 and other products with crash detection use a variety of sensors to determine if a person has likely been in a crash.
The sensors measure for sudden speed shifts, pressure changes, loud sound levels and abrupt changes in direction.
There have been a few reported problems nationwide with the new technology being unintentionally triggered on roller coasters, but officials say you can solve that problem by putting your phone on ‘Airplane Mode’ before getting on a ride.