The face you see here is of Mr Gandhi from the UK. He was driving his Skoda Octavia along the M40 motorway with his cruise control set to 70 Mph (the legal limit in the UK) when he began to realise that despite his speedometer telling him he was still doing 70 Mph his speed was increasing. He attempted to switch the cruise control off but the car would not respond. According to the Daily Express Mr Gandhi then spent a frantic 8 minutes pleading with emergency services asking them what the hell he should do as is speed kept increasing.
The last question Mr Gandhi asked was whether he should try applying the handbrake as he had tried taking the car out of gear to no avail. While the person at the other end of the phone desperately tried to get the answer the line went dead.
Mr Gandhi’s decapitated body was found later. His car had slammed into a parked truck in a layby as he had either lost control of it or deliberately attempted to get it off the motorway. Investigators calculated his speed at that point to be 119 Mph.
At the legal inquest into his death:
Martin Clatworthy, a vehicle data examiner and safety specialist for Volkswagen, the makers of the Skoda, said: “There is no indication that there was any error or problem with any of the electronic systems of the car in the five seconds leading up to the collision.”
And the coroner recorded that he:
Ruled out any suggestion that that Mr Gandhi, of Harrow, north west London, had deliberately taken his own life.
The vehicle was badly damaged in the collision but subsequent extensive investigations have not revealed any evidence of the faults described by Mr Gandhi.
I’m not so sure Mr Gandhi’s family would agree.
Nevertheless, the point is this. We here at UTB have been highlighting for some time now the rash of exploding phones recently. Both in the case of Samsung (with the Note 7 and Galaxy 7) and, for much longer, in the case of every itineration of the iPhone since the iPhone 6. In the case of Samsung they have, at least, recalled the Note 7, it remains to be seen just how bad the SG7 problem is (and we shudder to think who will suffer while we find out). In the case of Apple it would seem the policy is to buy off the afflicted user with a replacement iPhone. Which, of course, disturbingly, many (not all) injured iPhonians gladly accept as if all their Christmases have come as once.
People have been burned. Badly. Homes have been badly damaged to the point of making them uninhabitable. But the law enforcement agencies and the public prosecution departments seem uninterested. Why (quite rightly), when it’s a car, is it ok for a safety expert from the company involved to be held accountable in a court of law but when it’s a smartphone that they are not?
In other words, where are our protectors?
Strangely missing, I think.
Why?? Do we have to wait for someone to die???