After Car Plunges Down Embankment in Germany, Driver and Passengers Saved by Apple Automatic Crash Notification

By Anna Breuer on 14 February 2023
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A highway in Bavaria

The automatic crash notification feature of the Apple Watch allowed a driver and two passengers to be quickly rescued early Monday morning following a serious accident on the Bundesstraße 20, or B20, in the state of Bavaria in Germany.

Three young men were in a vehicle on the B20 on Monday at 2 a.m. local time when the vehicle went down an embankment.  Two of the occupants, who were pinned inside the wreck, were seriously injured and the accident site was not visible from the roadway.

An Apple Watch worn by one of the occupants sent the GPS coordinates of the vehicle’s exact location to an emergency call center in Straubing.

An initial police report found that the vehicle, which carried a Polish registration and was operated by a 21-year-old driver, was proceeding on the B20 from Cham in the direction of Landau.  Shortly before the exit to the Autobahn A3, the car left the roadway, drove through a grass median, and catapulted over a crash barrier.

The automatic crash notification feature is built into the Apple Watch Series 8 as well as the newer Apple Watch SE and all iPhone 14 smartphones.

The newest iPhones and Apple Watches use a dual-core accelerometer, barometer, and other sensors to detect an incident and, if the user is unresponsive after a ten-second countdown, it will automatically call emergency services and share the location data.  The feature relies on new algorithms Apple developed using over a million hours of real-world driving and crash record data.

“It looks like you’ve been in a crash,” the device’s display will say.  “IPhone will trigger emergency SOS if you don’t respond.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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