Apple Combats Distracted Driving
A new feature introduced by Apple in its iOS 11 operating system, released for iPhones on September 19, may go a long way to adding an extra degree of safety and preventing one of the leading causes of automobile accidents — distracted driving. The company hopes its Do Not Disturb While Driving feature will ultimately save thousands, if not millions, of lives.
Distracted Driving Statistics
Distracted driving, according to the National Highway Safety Administration, is defined essentially as any activity that takes attention and focus away from the road. This includes anything from eating a fast-food sandwich to changing the station on the radio; but by far the most common cause of distracted driving is cell phones, and specifically sending and receiving texts and notifications.
Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) statistics, reported in an article in the journal Techcrunch, which covers the technology industry and its applications, suggests that 10 percent of fatal crashes, 15 percent of injury crashes and 14 percent of all reported crashes are caused by distracted driving, killing 3,477 and injuring 391,000 in 2015 alone.
Apple’s move is a significant one, and not just for the United States. It’s estimated that 700 million iPhones are currently activated worldwide, and Apple expects that number to reach a billion sometime in 2019, according to an article in Fortune Magazine.
How it Works
The feature itself is deceptively simple and voluntary. According to the Apple Website, Do Not Disturb While Driving can be turned on simply by going to Settings, Control Center, then Customize Settings. It can be turned on manually each time an individual drives or be set to start automatically – either by a motion detection feature in the phone itself that activates the feature while you drive or when the phone connects to the car’s Bluetooth system or is connected by USB.
When activated, the phone will not alert the driver to messages, notifications or incoming calls (maps and music may still be accessed) and will reply to texts with a message indicating the phone owner is driving and will respond later. However, for important or urgent information, messages that include the word “urgent” will get through. If customized, phone calls from specific individuals the driver has listed in a favorites list will come through. Emergency alerts, timers and alarms will not be affected, and for passengers the feature can simply be turned off. For young drivers, parents can lock the feature to turn on whenever their child is driving.
Other Safety Measures
Apple is not alone in their safety attempts. Android has installed a safety feature allowing auto replies to messages while driving; and several auto manufacturers, including General Motors, Honda, Fiat Chrysler, BMW, Nissan and others, have discussed or implemented measures to help stop cell phone use while driving.
Distracted Driving in Louisiana
In Louisiana, these practices may help an already troubling issue. According to a report from KNOE in Baton Rouge, statistics show that between 2011 and 2015, 192 people were killed and 26,977 were injured as a result of distracted driving, as reported on the Chris Roy Law Webpage. The state of Louisiana also currently enforces laws that make text messaging by anyone, and most cell phone use, illegal while driving. The penalty for text messaging while driving is $175 for first-time offenders, and repeat offenders get a $500 fine.
Chris J. Roy, Jr. APLC has been serving the people of Louisiana from its Alexandria office since 1989. We handle a variety of cases, and look forward to addressing your legal needs. For almost three decades, Chris Roy and his firm have been defending and filing claims for individuals hurt in accidents, and we have the knowledge, experience and resources to help you. If you have questions or would like to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us at 318.487.9537.