Distracted driving has always been a problem on Alabama roads. Before the advent of cellphones, it came in the form of adjusting the radio, eating and drinking behind the wheel, grooming, and taking care of personal hygiene. In short, it involved any kind of activity that diverts drivers’ attention or vision away from the road or hands off the wheel. Now, cellphones have only multiplied the number of crashes caused by distracted driving.
For many drivers, resisting the urge to pick up the phone is nearly impossible. Some may shut their phones off while driving. Others may throw their phones in the glove box. One emerging feature added to Apple iPhones may be the answer.
What is ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving?’
In 2017, Apple introduced the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature to its iOS 11. Since its implementation, whether or not the feature has proven to be effective has yet to fully be seen. A company that promotes safe driving, suggests that as of April 2018, overall iPhone use behind the wheel declined by eight percent after the DNDWD app became available on the market.
Data from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey shows:
- The number of drivers holding a smartphone to their ears decreased from 3.3 percent in 2016 to 2.9 percent in 2017.
- The number of drivers using visible headsets decreased from 0.5 percent to 0.4 percent, respectively.
- The number of drivers seen manipulating smartphones decreased from 2.1 percent to 2.0 percent, respectively.
- This reduction, however, doesn’t represent the entire nation. The Northeast saw an increase in the number of drivers using phones while driving, going from 1.1 percent in 2016 to 2.8 percent in 2017.
Why do people drive distracted?
For most people who use their phones while driving, this type of behavior is habitual. In many cases, they don’t even recognize the risk until they either experience a near-collision or are involved in a crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2017, roughly nine percent of crashes in the US were attributed to distracted driving – resulting in 2,935 injuries and 3,166 fatalities.
Smartphones were involved in 14 percent of all crashes caused by distracted driving, leading to 401 total crashes and 434 deaths.
Drivers must resist the urge to text, make calls, or engage in social media while behind the wheel. What it all comes down to is responsibility and willpower. Even those who have the DNDWD app installed on their iPhones can override the features or even uninstall the app altogether.
For now, it’s too soon to tell if the DNDWD app is really preventing crashes, but it could be a motivational tool for those who simply can’t put their phones down.
Should you or a loved one be injured in a crash due to another driver’s inattentiveness, you have legal options and may be eligible for compensation. To learn more, don’t hesitate to contact Dean Waite & Associates, LLC.