Smartphone usage has become a way of life for all ages in today’s society. It is no longer just a 'phone' as we pay, browse, photograph and share our lives through these devices. However, the accessibility of wireless connections has increased the usage of people using their smartphones whilst driving.
We all know the dangers of using your phone behind the wheel, but do you know that drivers who use phones (hands-free or hand-held), are four times more likely to be in a crash? They're also more likely to be blameworthy in crashes as it takes nearly half a minute to regain concentration after interacting with a device! Earlier this year, the UK government stepped in; making penalties and fines for drivers using their phone whilst driving much tougher. And now, tech giant Apple have rolled out in iOS11 a ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving Mode’ presumably in response to their lawsuit earlier in the year. The feature works by recognising when you are driving using motion detection or connectivity with in-car Bluetooth. When this feature is enabled, your phone will automatically mute incoming calls, texts and notifications. It also gives drivers the option to set up an automated response to anyone who contacts you when driving. This means that drivers are potentially less distracted from phone notifications and are reminded that they shouldn’t be interacting with their device behind the wheel. However, this feature can be switched off within the settings menu and a driver can override it easily.
Many fear the phone manufacturers current efforts aren't enough though; as drivers can easily disable the feature to continue to use their phone and the settings have not been rolled out across Android devices yet. Technology is also slipping into the driving test changes in December; as learners are tested on their use of a SatNav whilst driving.