Apple to launch safe driving mode for iPhones

Apple to launch safe driving mode for iPhones
The fight against illegal mobile phone use at the wheel has taken an interesting turn this week, with Apple’s announcement of a specialised feature on its latest update.

A new mode known as ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ is said by Apple to increase driver focus, and will appear on the iPhones of owners around the world this autumn, as they update their software to the latest iOS 11 version.

When the new feature is activated, all notifications are silenced and the screen switches off, allowing smartphone users to dedicate their full attention to the road ahead.

READ MORE: What are the new mobile phone driving laws?

Once the iPhone detects a user is moving in a car, it sends anyone who tries to contact them an automatic text message explaining the person is currently on the road and unavailable.

If the driver finds themselves in an emergency situation, they are still able to use their phone by replying with the word ‘urgent’ in order to push a message through.

There is also an option for drivers to select favourite contacts still able to reach them when the feature is activated.

In a rapidly-growing area for developers, Nissan recently revealed a prototype for an in-car signal-blocking box, which removes the temptation for drivers to respond to incoming calls and texts.

IN OTHER NEWS: Driving licences to go smartphone-friendly

In 2015 alone, 22 driver deaths were directly attributed to mobile phone use – a loss of life which could have been easily avoided.

The RAC encourages all drivers to sign up and take an online pledge to Be Phone Smart. Among those to have already lent their support to similar initiatives are Pharrell Williams, Rafael Nadal and footballer Antoine Griezmann.

The iOS 11 update will also bring an extension to the power of mobile payment system Apple Pay, which will now allow users to send money directly to friends and families.

Users will be able to send and receive money through the messages app, or by using Siri and telling the assistant who to pay.

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.

“So 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.

“Apple took out a series of patents more than three years ago designed to address the issue of driver safety, so while this new feature has been rather a long time coming it’s a positive step that the majority of drivers with an iOS device will be able to benefit from it by the autumn.

“As well as downloading the free update when it’s available, we encourage motorists to make a personal pledge to not use their handheld phone while driving – it takes just moments at BePhoneSmart.uk and every driver that does so sends a powerful message to others that illegal phone use and driving a moving vehicle do not mix.”

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.