Apple's 'do not disturb' feature could prevent distracted driving

With distracted driving accidents on the rise, phone makers have faced increasing pressure to do something about the problem.

In fact, Apple was sued earlier this year for failing to implement a "driver mode" that would disable phones while drivers are behind the wheel.

Now, with a new tech release, Apple has included a "Do Not Disturb While Driving" feature on iPhones, but the effectiveness of the feature remains to be seen.

The new "Do Not Disturb" feature can detect when someone is driving, and the phone will then silence incoming notifications such as text messages.

However, there is an override switch for passengers, and it is still possible for a driver to use the override switch to engage in distracted driving.

Safety advocates have praised the "Do Not Disturb" feature as a step in the right direction.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, each year more than 3,000 people are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured in distracted driving accidents. While distraction takes many forms, texting while driving is known to be the most dangerous -- and in many cases as dangerous as drunk driving.

Phone makers can do what is in their power to prevent distracted driving accidents, but the responsibility ultimately falls to drivers. Operating a motor vehicle while distracted is a form of driver negligence, and victims of distracted driving accidents may be entitled to compensation for injuries and other costs resulting from the crash.

For more on these matters, please see Almanzar & Youngers' personal injury overview. Our firm represents accident victims throughout New Mexico.

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