Apple's new distraction free driving feature is a friendly suggestion rather than a requirement.
As drivers in the 21st century, we’re constantly reminded of tips or mobile apps to keep ourselves distraction free while on the road.
But what about a simpler solution that comes right from the source of our distraction, without any additional downloads?
Enter Apple Do Not Disturb While Driving.
Apple has just released its iOS 11 update which has added new improvements to the App Store, augmented reality features, and more serious features like the Emergency SOS panic button and Do Not Disturb While Driving.
It’s not surprising that Apple would debut two safety features at the same release considering their new marketing angle; their products not only improve lives, but save them as well.
If you’ve since updated your iPhone to iOS 11, you may have noticed an unfamiliar notification popping up on your screen whenever you’re in a car, on a bus, or even on the subway.
The new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature detects when you and your phone are in motion and will prompt you to shut down all notifications until you reach your destination.
Unlike third party mobile apps attempting to solve the same problem that cannot suppress all push notifications, Do Not Disturb is completely able to shut down all notifications, not just texts and phone calls.
Do Not Disturb will automatically run in the background and go into effect once you start driving. Or you may choose to manually activate it yourself under Do Not Disturb in your Settings.
And if you’re worried about leaving people hanging or missing an emergency call or text, the Do Not Disturb feature allows you to set auto-reply text messages and an urgent filter that will allow messages deemed an emergency by the sender to go through to your phone.
Incoming calls are allowed to come through when your phone is connected to a hands-free audio system, like Bluetooth.
Going hand in hand with Do Not Disturb, Apple has also updated their Maps application with features like lane guidance and current speed limits; making it easier for drivers to keep their attention off their screens and on the road.
It’s hard to say if Apple’s new Do Not Disturb feature will deter all of the 660,000 drivers who attempt to use their phones at any given time and cause approximately 1.6 million car accidents a year. But hopefully a majority will keep the feature automatically on to avoid future distraction.
With the option to ignore the feature completely, Apple isn't forcing anyones' hand, but rather making gentle suggestions for good driving behavior.
It’ll be interesting to see if people respond more readily to this kind of persuasion than the very real state laws banning cellphone use behind the wheel.