The chances are that, when you’re driving to and from work, you’ll spot somebody texting on their phone when they should be paying attention to the road. It’s a dangerous part of today’s times, and, as much as we want to be safe drivers, it’s sometimes hard not to check your iPhone when you’re stuck in traffic or driving on an open road.
But driving with distractions is dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, eight people in the United States alone are killed in crashes because of distractions such as smartphone notifications. It’s clear that something needs to change.
Enter Apple. Just announced at the Worldwide Developer Conference that took place yesterday (June 5), iPhones will soon make us safer drivers with a brand new feature.
Do Not Disturb While Driving will arrive with iOS 11, the latest iteration of the mobile operating system, and make it harder for you to use your phone at the wheel. Now, when your phone is connected to your car via Bluetooth, your phone will prevent notifications from popping up or making a noise to distract you from your driving.
Your phone will, essentially, be locked while driving, withholding all of your texts, phone calls and emails until you turn off the engine.
The feature will also prevent you from accessing apps, like Twitter, Facebook and the news.
And, if somebody does get in touch and you want them to know what you’re up to, you’ll be able to set your phone to automatically respond to contacts with a predetermined message, saying that you’re driving and will respond as soon as you can.
Passengers will have the ability to disable the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature in the settings menu of their phones so that they can continue to tweet, Snap and Instagram on the go – but this won’t be an automatic override to prevent people from using their phones at the wheel when they shouldn’t be.
With patents on the technology dating back to 2014, it’s believed that Apple has been working on the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature for a number of years. Why it has taken so long to be added to the operating system is unknown, but what is clear is the overwhelmingly positive response to the feature on social media.
Antek Piéchnik, a software developer, tweeted: “Being an offender myself, I am extremely glad to hear a ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ mode is coming”, while student David Peters said he was “glad Apple is addressing this issue”.
Do Not Disturb While Driving will launch as part of iOS 11 this September. Developers and the general public can sign up to beta test the new software now.