Apple to Curb Distracted Driving
Apr 30, 2014
Distracted driving is a major issue in the United States. In 2012 the national highway traffic safety administration found that distracted driving accidents killed 3,328 people. The number of people injured in 2012 was 421,000 and growing year over year.
With these types of numbers, law makers have tried their best to curb distracted driving by making it illegal to drive while using a handheld mobile device. Almost all fifty states have laws that either prohibit text messaging for drivers or prohibit all handheld cell phones while driving.
While this is a great step towards making our roads a safer place to travel, a law prohibiting cell phone use for drivers is only as good as the people following those laws. Sure those who don’t follow the law can get fined but that still requires police officers to catch people in the act. Thousands of people use their phone every day while driving without repercussions because it’s just too hard for police officers to be everywhere.
So to help decrease the amount of distracted driving on the roads, Apple is looking to cut the offenders off at the source. A recent patent on technology by the tech giant sees them moving towards a “lock-out” feature that would prohibit people from using their phone, or at least certain functions while driving.
The patent submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark office describes a lock-out system that could detect when a user is driving using sensors in the phone or by pulling information while the phone is connected to a car.
"As a market leader, Apple could have the power to change the culture behind texting and driving, if it works and is intuitive; that would be a very good step," Paul Watters, head of policy for the AA, a U.K. based motoring organization, told Business Insider.
The question of whether the technology will work properly is the main issue. Questions such as, “how will the iPhone know if you are a driver or a passenger?” and “What if there is an emergency and the phone is needed to call for help?” are all valid problems that need to be addressed before this technology can be released to the public.