It looks like the tech giant Apple is finally responding to the many lawsuits that have been filed against it related to distracted driving injuries and deaths. However, the response wasn't filed in court. Rather, at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (known as the WWDC), a new iPhone feature was unveiled as part of iOS 11: Do Not Disturb While Driving mode.
Along with the overwhelming public adoption of smart phones, the number of distracted driving crashes has naturally increased. After all, those bright screens, and that warm ambient feeling of acceptance and connection that these little magically devices provide, make them literally, and virtually, irresistible, even while operating a three ton chunk of metal hurling itself over a concrete motorway at 80 miles per hour. Whether Apple, or other manufacturers, are liable for distracted driving accidents caused by their devices is another question entirely though.
Do Not Disturb While Driving: Features
A class action lawsuit filed earlier this year alleged that Apple failed to implement a "driver lock out" feature, which creates a danger to public safety. Much of what was requested there may have now been obviated by the announcement of the upcoming update which will implement the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature.
Basically, the new feature will automatically detect when a person is driving, and then disable notifications, and other services, from appearing on the screen. Notifications from text messages, calls, and applications, will not appear while the driving mode is enabled.
Additionally, by disabling the notifications, the screen will remain dark so as to not add distracting bright lights, which can be especially distracting at night. Fortunately, it is expected that certain features, like music apps, and being able to place calls using hands-free peripherals, will still be accessible. Also, for passengers, the mode can be disabled. It is set to release with the new operating system this Fall.
Big Brother to the Rescue
This feature may seem like a hindrance to many people. When a person wants to use their device while driving, safety features like Apple's new safe driving mode will just make it more difficult, rather than stop them.
Some individuals find these sorts of controls to be excessive. However, there is a clear need based on the number of distracted driving crashes. One concern is that drivers may just disable the feature, but a certain percentage will not, and hopefully parents will likely be able to prevent their kids from disabling it.