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Apple Introduces New Feature to Combat Distracted Driving

New California Distracted Driving Law Will Penalize Drivers Texting or Holding a Phone

Apple executives have announced the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature for iPhones to help combat the major problem of distracted driving. According to an NPR news report, Apple’s new solution is aimed at keeping drivers’ eyes off the screen and the road. When Apple’s iOS 11 update comes out this fall, it will include the “Do Not Disturb While Driving mode.” Apple officials announced the new feature during the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California.

How the Feature Works

When the feature is turned on, your iPhone can detect when you are driving and will automatically mute all notifications. So, when you are driving, your screen will remain dark even if you get a flurry of texts, posts, emails or tweets. Contacts could receive an automatic reply saying you are driving and will get back to them when you arrive at your destination. It is not clear how much wiggle room users will have. You may be able to allow some of your contacts to get through so you have the peace of mind that you can get contacted in case of an emergency.

Reaction to Family’s Lawsuit

Apple’s move follows a lawsuit filed by a family in December 2016 after their 5-year-old daughter was killed by a distracted driver who was allegedly using the FaceTime video chat feature. The lawsuit stated that in spite of filing a patent in 2014 on a safety feature to block the use of FaceTime by drivers, Apple had failed to implement it. Safety advocates say that while Apple’s move should be welcomed, preventing distracted driving is not a quick fix.

Joel Feldman, who lost his daughter to a distracted driver in 2009 and founded the group End Distracted Driving, says drivers using iPhones are involved in thousands of crashes and that these car accidents will continue. Feldman’s group advocates changing the culture so that distracted driving will become unacceptable just like drunk driving.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Government data shows that each day in the United States, eight people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured as a result of distracted driving. On any given day, around 660,000 people are on their cell phones or other electronic devices while driving. Most states ban cell phone use by younger drivers, but only 14 states have comprehensive laws against all drivers using hand-held devices.

Distracted driving crashes, in addition to fatalities, can result in serious or catastrophic injuries that can leave individuals disabled. Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, permanent injuries and pain and suffering. Victims of such incidents would also be well advised to contact an experienced California car accident lawyer who will fight for their rights and hold the at-fault parties accountable.

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