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Mobile Phones

Apple To Introduce Do Not Disturb Mode For Drivers

The new feature is being welcomed by road safety charities and automotive associations.

Apple have announced a new feature that could help prevent motorists from using their phone at the wheel.

The Do Not Disturb mode will be available for drivers once the new operating system iOS11 rolls out in autumn. However, the feature has been rumoured for some months, after the Sunday Times revealed in late 2016 that Apple had filed a patent, in 2008 (granted in 2014), for a similar concept to what will be introduced.

using a mobile phone while driving vector

How Will iPhone Do Not Disturb While Driving Work?

When the iPhone is connected to a vehicle such as a car or van via a Bluetooth connection or a USB/aux cable, and the vehicle is moving, the Do Not Disturb feature will turn on.

This will then mute notifications such as text messages, news updates, and other app notifications and the screen will remain dark. An automatic reply can be set for text messages so that anyone not urgently trying to contact you will be able to understand why you aren’t replying. However, in the case of an emergency, certain contacts can reply urgent to get the message pushed through.

You will still be able to view some apps, such as navigation apps like Apple Maps and Google Maps, but you won’t be able to interact with them. You will only be able to view directions inputted before your journey started.

If you are a passenger you will be able to disable Do Not Disturb mode, allowing you to continue using your phone as normal.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, said: “It’s all about keeping your eyes on the road. When you are driving you don’t need to be responding to these kind of messages.”

The news of an inbuilt feature aiming to deter drivers from using their phones has been praised by many:

Jason Wakeford, spokesman for road safety charity Brake, said: "This new feature is to be welcomed and will help drivers stay focused on the road and not their phones. Mobile use behind the wheel is a growing menace and so Brake would like to see similar initiatives from other phone manufactures to help cut distractions in the car.”

Pete Williams, spokesman for the RAC’s BePhoneSmart campaign, said: “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.

“We’re pleased that at last millions of drivers that use an Apple iPhone are about to be able to put an end to intrusive notifications while they’re behind the wheel.”

Edmund King, the AA President said: “Our research shows that we need to do more to stop drivers using their phones at the wheel, and technology can help.

“More than half of young drivers can’t bring themselves to turn off their mobile phones before driving.”

Since the recent change in the law regarding drivers who are caught using their phones whilst at the wheel, and the increase in punishment as a result, this technology change may help new or young drivers from being distracted or tempted to use their phones whilst driving, and as such may prevent them from picking up a driving conviction as a result. For young drivers, picking up driving convictions can have a greater impact, not least on the cost of their insurance premium.

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