Campaigners have backed a new ‘do not disturb while driving’ feature, set to be launched for iPhones.
Apple has included the setting in its new iOS 11 software update, which will be rolled out later this year, and it is believed it will keep motorists and other road users safe.
Called “Do Not Disturb While Driving”, the feature will activate if a phone is connected to a vehicle through either Bluetooth or a cable, or potentially using speed detection to know if a user is in a car when it is moving.
Do Not Disturb can automatically silence notifications to keep the screen dark and stop drivers being distracted.
It does this by using a number of already built-in features on the iPhone such as Bluetooth connection, wifi Doppler effects (for cars with wifi) and accelerometers. Detection will blank the screen and divert all incoming messages, calls and notifications to eliminate as much phone distraction while out on the road.
However, those receiving that message will be able to reply with the word “urgent” to push the message through in emergency situations.
Pete Williams, spokesman for the RAC’s BePhoneSmart campaign, said: “These days it is less phone calls and more the pings and buzzes of texts and social media apps that have the potential to distract a driver from the task at hand.
“We’re pleased that at last millions of drivers that use an Apple iPhone are about to be able to put an end to intrusive notifications while they’re behind the wheel.”
AA president Edmund King, said: “Our research shows that we need to do more to stop drivers using their phones at the wheel, and technology can help.
“More than half of young drivers can’t bring themselves to turn off their mobile phones before driving.
“Whilst the responsibility for not using a handheld phone at the wheel lies firmly with the driver, we welcome developments such as Do Not Disturb While Driving which could remove the temptation to answer the phone for some drivers.”