With how convenient it is to just check your phone at a red light or glance down at a notification when you think it’s safe, it can be hard to resist the urge. The convenience of texting makes it seem like something we could do in our sleep–or while driving. We all know that’s really not the case though. So it’s a little scary how many people still do it.
Phone use is the cause of more than a quarter of car accidents. Yeah, that means that 26 percent of accidents could have been avoided if people just put down their phones while driving. That statistic includes hands-free phone calls too. Well, Apple’s going to take care of that (or they’re going to try at least).
The company just announced that in the next version of their iOS software (iOS 11), releasing this fall, the ‘do not disturb’ function will have an extended ‘do not disturb while driving’ option. There are apps that will send ‘sorry, I’m driving’ messages to people you receive texts from while you’re driving but this is the first full-phone response to the problem.
The phone goes into ‘DNDWD’ mode when it detects it has been connected to a car via Bluetooth or cable or when it feels the car moving. Passengers will have the option to turn off the feature if they’re not the driver. We hope the actual driver wouldn’t opt for turning it off. That’s the whole point.
Once in DNDWD mode, the phone won’t display notifications so you’re not tempted to sneak a peek or respond. It can also be set to send a message to anyone who has the nerve to text you while you’re driving.
Here’s where Apple takes things a step further: the function also disables the screen and most apps so you literally can’t use your phone while you’re driving. You’ll be able to view navigation apps (no inputting destinations though) but that’s about it. Naturally, the Apple Maps app will be significantly easier to use under DNDWD than Google Maps. We see what you did there, Apple. You can try to make Apple Maps more popular than Google, but we think that’s much easier said than done. Valiant effort though.
It’s too soon to tell if this change is actually going to lower the likelihood of people pulling out their phones when they’re behind the wheel. Especially with the amount people use phones for navigation, it seems unlikely. Hopefully, in general, people will just shape up and focus on driving while they’re on the road. At the very least, Apple’s got us talking about it.