(credit: Barry Davis)

According to the latest figures available, US highway deaths increased by more than 10 percent year-over-year during the first half of 2016. One big reason? Distracted driving with mobile phones. It's a reality that now has one phone-maker in some unusual legal crosshairs.

Apple, maker of the ever-popular iPhone, is being sued on allegations that its FaceTime app contributed to the highway death of a 5-year-old girl named Moriah Modisette. In Denton County, Texas, on Christmas Eve 2014, a man smashed into the Modisette family's Toyota Camry as it stopped in traffic on southbound Interstate 35W. Police say that the driver was using the FaceTime application and never saw the brake lights ahead of him. In addition to the tragedy, father James, mother Bethany, and daughter Isabella all suffered non-fatal injuries during the crash two years ago.

The Modisette family now wants Apple to pay damages for the mishap. The family alleges the Cupertino, California-based technology company had a duty to warn motorists against using the app and that it could have used patented technology to prohibit drivers from utilizing the app. According to the suit (PDF) filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court:

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