Crash-detection alerts from an Apple Watch helped save victims in Ontario car crash

This is a screen grab of a car crash from KTLA news
(Image credit: KTLA on YouTube)

Early Tuesday morning, in Ontario, California, a car crashed when it slammed into a tree, injuring at least two. It’s a nightmare for the victims, but reports indicate that it could have been worse, since Apple crash-dection features, which are included in the Apple Watch and iPhones, sent alerts to police. 

In fact, according to a story from KTLA news, the “collision-alert technology was instrumental in helping officers locate and provide aid to the victims.” The report goes on to say that “the crash occurred just before 2 A.M. on the 15 Freeway at Jurupa Avenue and involved a single white Hyundai Sonata with five occupants, law enforcement officials said.” 

A Youtube video on KTLA’s website also said “People were trapped inside the vehicle following the crash. Two of those victims were taken to the hospital to be treated. One had major injuries, the other had moderate injuries.”

Some technologies can help save lives

When Apple introduced the crash detection on the iPhone 14, Apple's intentions were good: The feature uses data from various sensors to detect if you’ve been in a car crash, and then notifies the authorities–emergency services, police, etc. 

Unfortunately, it hasn't always worked flawlessly. For example, in 2022, Apple phones were reportedly accidentally making 911 calls during roller-coaster rides. In another report, this time from the Wall Street Journal, one of its journalists found that the crash-detection feature simply refused to work at all. 

Still, in the case of the accident that took place in Ontario, Canada, the crash-detection features worked, and probably saved lives! 

So, do all Apple iPhones and Apple Watches include crash detection? 

No, it’s only available on the following models: iPhone 14 or later (all models) with iOS 16 or later; Apple Watch Series 8 or later, Apple Watch SE (2nd generation), and Apple Watch Ultra or later with watchOS 9 or later. Also, the emergency calls use a cellular connection or Wi-Fi Calling with an Internet connection from your Apple Watch or iPhone. 

For more on Apple's crash-detection technology, check out the following Apple support page here.

Terry Sullivan

Terry Sullivan has tested and reported on many different types of consumer electronics and technology services, including cameras, action cams, mobile devices, streaming music services, wireless speakers, headphones, smart-home devices, and mobile apps. He has also written extensively on various trends in the worlds of technology, multimedia, and the arts. For more than 10 years, his articles and blog posts have appeared in a variety of publications and websites, including The New York Times, Consumer Reports, PCMag, Worth magazine, Popular Science, Tom’s Guide, and Artnews. He is also a musician, photographer, artist, and teacher.