Road safety charity Brake is welcoming Apple's announcement that its iOS 11 software update will include a new "Do Not Disturb While Driving" mode for iPhones. When used, the new feature will detect whether someone is driving and turn off all notifications, as well as setting an automatic text response to notify friends and family when the driver is behind the wheel.
Caroline Perry, Brake's NZ Director says: "We're pleased to see this technology being used to help drivers stay focused on the road and not their phones. Mobile phone use at the wheel is a growing problem and it's great to see some phone manufacturers playing their part in helping to cut distractions. We urge others to look at how they too can help to minimise driver distraction.
"Advances in technology must also be accompanied by enforcement and tough penalties for those who break the law, to ensure that drivers have the expectation that if they use a mobile phone behind the wheel, they will be caught and penalised."
Driving is a highly unpredictable and risky activity and requires full concentration at all times. Drivers who divide their attention between their phone and the road are significantly increasing their risk of causing a devastating crash. A study of in-vehicle video footage estimated that one in five (22%) road crashes could be caused, at least in part, by driver distraction . Drivers who use phones at the wheel have been found to be four times more likely to be in a crash resulting in injuries .
 The impact of driver inattention on near-crash/crash risk, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2006
 Role of mobile phones in motor vehicle crashes resulting in hospital attendance: a case-crossover study, University of Western Australia, 2005