As more and more people depend on their mobile phones every day, driver distraction will continue to grow. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 8 people are killed each day in crashes involving distracted driving. This distracted driving caused 3,477 road deaths in 2015 alone. People who read or write text messages while driving are 23% more likely to be involved in a car crash than other drivers. To give you a local example, a McAllen auto accident attorney states that just over a year ago there were over 560,000 car accidents in Texas, with 17% involving distracted driving.
In order to help keep drivers’ eyes on the road instead of on the screen, Apple is soon going to introduce a new iPhone feature called “Do Not Disturb While Driving,” as a part of its iOS 11, a new version of the OS for Apple mobile devices.
Announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, this Do Not Disturb While Driving (DNDWD) mode activates when the phone detects that its owner is in a car (DNDWD uses information about Bluetooth connectivity and nearby Wi-Fi networks to determine whether the phone is in a moving car) and is not using Apple CarPlay.
The phone will also mute any incoming notifications for things like text messages or news updates. If someone does text you while you’re driving, the feature allows the phone to respond with an automated text message telling them you’re driving and can’t respond just now. However, this new iPhone software will still allow drivers to take hand-free calls.
The iPhone screen will also be locked to prevent drivers from using many of their apps while driving. Passengers who are just riding, and not driving, will have the ability to disable the feature. So everyone will be able to disable it probably.
Users will be able to see Apple Maps, while driving—though they will be unable to input destinations. Other navigation apps, like Google Maps, will also work, although not quite as easily. And, drivers will still be able to use Apple CarPlay, of course, in cars that are equipped with it.