Will New iPhone Feature Curb Distracted Driving?

Photo: Apple

At the WWDC 2017 keynote on Monday, Apple announced a new feature coming to iOS 11 called Do Not Disturb While Driving. It takes the existing Do Not Disturb feature and automatically turns it on when your iPhone detects that you’re driving. Notifications like calls and texts are muted during this time, and alerts are sent out to people trying to contact you that you’re busy on the road. Apple is hoping the addition will cut down on the distracted driving phenomenon.

The new feature especially hits home with the Distraction Podcast. Dr. Hallowell frequently talks about smartphone addiction, its dangers, and tips to set boundaries with your beloved device. We also have an upcoming episode where he and other volunteers embark on a social experiment smartphone free. 

We were curious about your first impressions of Do Not Disturb While Driving in iOS 11. In particular, we wanted to know whether it’s something you’d turn on and try to abide by or if you’ll still fall victim to distracted driving. Our polls on Twitter found some interesting results.

Polls About iOS 11 Do Not Disturb While Driving

We first asked:

Does the iPhone’s new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature give you more peace of mind about distracted driving in your family?

An impressive 49 percent of respondents answered Yes. 19 percent of you said No. The remaining 32 percent didn’t know what this feature was and inquired further. Let’s now cut out the people who didn’t know about the feature and just include those who answered with certainty. 73 percent of those who answered with certainty believe this feature will help distracted driving — almost three quarters. 27 percent don’t think it’ll help.

Next we asked:

Will you use the iPhone’s new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature, or do you think you’ll continue to text while driving?

33 percent of you indicated that you would definitely use it. 27 percent said I’ll try to use it. Then 20 percent of respondents said they’ll probably continue to make phone calls while driving, but wouldn’t text. The remaining 20 percent said they will continue to call and text while driving. In summation, 60 percent indicated the desire to put in effort to use the feature and combat distracted driving. 40 percent either leaned toward current driving habits or embraced them completely.

Twitter Reactions to Do Not Disturb While Driving

Outside of our polls, we also scoured Twitter for some reactions to the new feature in your own words. Take a look at some highlights.

Overall, reactions to the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature are generally quite positive. Most people seem to think this really could change lives and help alleviate the distracted driving epidemic.

We’re pretty excited ourselves. Hopefully, enough people leave the Do Not Disturb While Driving setting on so we can start to see some progress on the road.

The feature is coming in Apple’s iOS 11 update for iPhone, so you won’t need to buy a new phone to take advantage of it. As long as you have an iPhone 5s or newer, you will receive the update for free when it arrives this fall.

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