Apple iOS11 Provides a new tool for road safety
Do Not Disturb While Driving is a new feature on iOS11 that blocks incoming calls, texts, and notifications while you are driving. It is designed to reduce distractions while behind the wheel.
Better Driver Training have a look at Do Not Disturb While Driving to see if it works with or against drivers in the real world.
You may be familiar with the previous Do Not Disturb feature that blocks incoming notifications during set times for those, like our very own Ian Brett, that need an undisturbed nights sleep! Similarly the Do Not Disturb While Driving can be set to come on automatically (based on acceleration, when connected to a car's Bluetooth, or as a manual feature.
The disadvantage of the automatic and Bluetooth settings is that it doesn’t differentiate between driver or passenger.
Whichever mode you choose, Do Not Disturb While Driving will mute incoming phone calls, notifications, and text messages, and your iPhone's screen will stay off. For texts it can be set to send an automatic reply, which can be customised. The sender is told that if their message is urgent they can text the word ‘urgent’ to override Do Not Disturb.
As long as you are connected to a car's Bluetooth or a hands-free phone calls will be allowed. However it is worth remembering that handsfree phone use is shown reduce reactions by more than that of a driver at the drink drive limit and on cannabis! Maybe no calls is a better option?
For those with young drivers there is a restricted option (General - Restrictions - Do Not Disturb While Driving) which means settings cannot be changed. However, at Better Driver Training we prefer to focus on education and would like to think that qualifying and newly qualified drivers would see the benefit of setting this up themselves to avoid the distraction.
Having used the feature for a few days, I found the automatic feature frustrating as when a passenger it kept saying I was driving. Obviously an instructor you can’t use the phone with a provisional licence holder, so even as a ‘passenger’ in this circumstance there is a benefit. Bluetooth mode was most useful as it didn’t rely on human interaction.
Looking at SatNav use, the Do Not Disturb feature made this easier but was limited to Apples own Apple Maps version (not Google or my preference Waze - however I’m use to this using Apple CarPlay). Reducing the amount of additional distraction and allowing it to be used for a sole purpose is probably positive.
We welcome innovations such as these giving users of tech an opportunity to create coping strategies and make positive choices. The best feature is the automatic alert to those outside the vehicle informing them that the phone-user is driving. Combined with options like ‘Find Friends’ or black box technology, they can help unite family and peers to support the drivers decisions. We will be adding this to the ‘Black box ready’ and ‘Parental support’ packages we already offer at Better Driver Training.
Chris Bensted ADI
Co-Owner and Senior Trainer
Better Driver Training