Apple to Combat Distracted Driving with “Do Not Disturb While Driving” iPhone Feature

“When you’re driving, just drive.” That’s Apple’s new mantra to combat distracted driving following a much-needed new feature coming soon to iPhones.

As part of Apple’s upcoming newly announced iOS 11, the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature will block all incoming calls, text messages, and notifications. Those trying to contact a person who has the feature activated will receive a short, polite and automated response notifying them that the party is unavailable while driving.

When this optional mode is activated by the driver, the iPhone will automatically lock when the car is in motion or the iPhone is connected to the car via a cable or Bluetooth. However, someone else in the vehicle could unlock the iPhone and use it while the driver continues to drive.

The iPhone lock won’t restrict visibility of Apple Maps so that a driver can still receive directions. They will not be able to input new directions as someone else in the car would need to disable the feature and perform that task.

Apple CarPlay will still work in vehicles that support the hands-off feature allowing voice-activated calls and texting while driving.

“Do Not Disturb While Driving” comes at a crucial time when distracted driving injuries and deaths are on the rise, especially for younger drivers. The feature will release this fall with iOS 11, and will rely on the driver’s responsibility to themselves and others on the road to activate and use it on their iPhone.

Goldberg & Osborne continues to support distracted driving awareness through our Don’t Text and Drive Scholarships.

Distracted Driving Factor in Projected 10 Percent Jump in 2015 Pedestrian Fatalities

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has issued a new report projecting a 10 percent rise in 2015 pedestrian fatalities versus the prior year. Projections are based on 2015 pedestrian fatality trends as reported by all 50 state highway safety agencies and the District of Columbia.

Never in the history of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which was instituted in 1975, has a double-digit increase in pedestrian fatalities occurred from one year to the next. In many years the number of fatalities has decreased, and the previous maximum year-to-year increase in fatalities was 8.1 percent.

Numerous reasons are likely culprits for the unprecedented rise in pedestrian fatalities. Distracting driving, including texting and driving, is taking drivers’ eyes off the road. Likewise, distracted walking is also contributing to the fatalities rise as pedestrians aren’t aware of their surroundings or ready to react when they eyes are fixated on a mobile device.

Other factors that may contribute to the rise in pedestrian fatalities include continually safer vehicles that protect drivers but not pedestrians, more pedestrians walking outdoors for exercise, and the lowest gas prices in the past decade leading to more vehicles on the road.

The GHSA continues to work toward improving pedestrian safety, such as the recently passed and instituted federal surface transportation bill, the FAST Act, that empowers states with additional resources.

Goldberg & Osborne is helping spread awareness about the dangers of distracted driving through the Goldberg & Osborne Don’t Text and Drive Scholarship.