There are laws and regulations in some states about driving and using the phone. The laws vary, but basically, it is illegal to use talk on your phone or to send or read text messages on your cell phone while you are driving. There have been cases of accidents which have led to death and dismemberment due to people driving while using their phone. The laws are there to prevent more accidents from happening. To help things along, Apple’s latest iPhone feature will ensure that drivers do not have a reason to use their phones for texting or calling or for any distracting messages.
Called the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature is a safety net which will be part of iOS 11. This operating system will be available in Fall. The feature practically blocks any text message or notification while the user is driving. It is turned on while the iPhone is connected to the car via Bluetooth, or via USB cable, or if the phone notices that the car is in motion.
When you receive a text message, an automated response is sent informing the sender that you are busy driving at the moment and cannot answer the phone. Passengers using their iPhone will be able to turn off the feature. It is expected that drivers who do turn off the feature will be doing so at their own risk. So far, there is still no update or app where a phone would tell the user if it needs repair at a cellphone repair shop or an app which gives the location of the nearest cell phone supply store.
In January, a family in Texas sued Apple because their daughter was killed by a man who was using FaceTime while driving. Around the same time, a man in California filed a lawsuit against Apple because he was injured by a driver who was using her iPhone at the time of the accident. In both cases, the suit tried to pin the blame for Apple has failed to implement safeguards for responsible use while driving.
The Texas lawsuit, in particular, mentioned that Apple was granted a patent in 2014 for a gadget with a lockout mechanism which uses a motion analyzer and other technologies. It seems that the intent of the patent application was the creation of a device or app on iOS which would disable cell phones within a car from receiving and sending messages and notifications. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it is just an app for the iPhone alone. However, judging by the 2017 iOS 11 improvements, the 2014 patent application has not been touched. Instead, these are new features which restrict notifications and messages on the phone itself and not on others.
Texas recently banned using the cellphone to text while driving. The state is just the latest among other states which have such a ban. Other states have a ban on texting and internet use while driving, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona (for bus driver only), Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.
In addition, the following states have a total ban on a handheld device while driving: Alabama, Arkansas (18-20 years old only), California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana (learner or intermediate license holder), Maine (under 18 years of age), Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico (local option by jurisdiction), New York, Oklahoma (learner or intermediate license holder), Oregon, Vermont, Virginia (under 18 years old), Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin (driving through construction zones).
Other states have a conditional ban any cellphone use: Colorado (on learner’s permit or under 18), Georgia (under 18 years old), Indiana (under 18 years old), Kansas (on learner or intermediate license), Kentucky (under 18 years old), Massachusetts (under 18 years old), Michigan (level 1 or 2 license), Minnesota (under 18 with learner or provisional license), Nebraska (under 18 with learner or intermediate license), North Carolina (under 18 years old), North Dakota (under 18 years old), Ohio (under 18 years old), Rhode Island (under 18 years old), South Dakota (on learner or intermediate license), Utah (under 18 years old), and Wyoming (on learner or intermediate license).
The Texas Department of Transportation stated that in 2016, there were 455 casualties and 3,000 others who were seriously injured in the state alone due to car accidents involving texting or cellphone use.