APPLE will soon introduce a new iPhone feature that will block all notifications, discourage users from checking text messages and turn off the phone’s screen while people are driving. It’s all meant to make driving safer. The new service could do a world of good in a country like Saudi Arabia which has one of the highest rates of traffic accidents in the world.
The feature, called “Do Not Disturb While Driving”, is part of Apple’s iOS 11, its latest version of the operating software for Apple mobile devices.
The feature will withhold any notifications for things like text messages or news updates when the phone is connected to a car through Bluetooth or a cable, or if it is in a moving car.
It will send an automatic reply that the user is driving and can’t respond when the phone receives a message. Users will also be able to set up an auto-reply message — i.e. ‘I’m driving’ — which their friends will see if they text in. In emergency situations, recipients of that message will be able to reply with the word ‘urgent’ to push the message through.
The iPhone screen will also be locked to prevent drivers from using many of their apps while driving.
Users have to activate it first, but the phone auto-detects that the user is driving and deactivates all notifications (i.e. from Facebook, WhatsApp and so on). 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.
Users will also be able to set favorite contacts who are still able to reach them even when they are driving.
Passengers will have the ability to indicate that they are not driving and disable the feature.
Apparently, these days it is less phone calls and more the pings and buzzes of texts and social media apps that have the potential to distract a driver from the task at hand. So it’s all about keeping your eyes on the road. When you are driving you don’t need to be responding or initiating messages. Because when you do, this is the result: In the US, eight people are killed each day and about 330,000 people are injured a year in crashes involving distracted driving. There are about 1.6 million crashes in the US every year involving cell phone use.
More than 200 drivers in the UK a day have been caught using their phones illegally in a major crackdown. Police forces in Britain penalized almost 6,000 motorists for the offense in the four weeks after tougher punishments took effect, equivalent to one every seven minutes.
And in Saudi Arabia, some 7,000 people die annually because of traffic accidents, which also result in 39,000 injuries every year. While there are no statistics in the Kingdom as to how many of these casualties were the direct result of using the web on a mobile phone while driving, and even though the use of mobiles while driving is a violation, it would be safe to assume many traffic accidents happen here when drivers are busy with their smart phones.
For parents around the world, the one statistic that should stand out: Handheld cell phone use continues to be highest among 16-24 year old drivers.
It would be so much easier and safer to just pull over to the curb if it was extremely necessary to use a mobile phone. Even easier to not answer or close the contraption entirely.
But that’s totally up to the driver. As is the new Apple service. While Apple may have found a way to help end distracted driving, all one really has to do is disable the feature. It is still all left up to the person behind the wheel.