Your iPhone Could Block Texting If You're Also Driving, Because Apple Doesn't Want You Doing That Either

Apple doesn't want you texting and driving, either. The Californian company may lock iPhones from texting while driving, a new failsafe technology to curb people's bad behavior while behind the wheel. It's described as a "driver handheld computing device lock-out," which could detect when an iPhone user was behind the wheel and forcibly shut down their texting ways. Apple acquired a patent for such a system in 2008, but has only now been made public.

This is an idea which sounds like it would have the most utility for people with newer cars, equipped with some degree of smartphone compatibility. Still, Apple is reportedly also considering the use of GPS data and in-phone accelerometers to tell whether an iPhone inside a moving car — which, hypothetically, could work for a ride from 1987 as well as one from 2014.

That would be a major boost to public health. Texting while driving has been one of the worst side-effects of the smartphone era, and studies demonstrate the incredibly heightened danger from doing so. Commercial drivers were found to up their crash risk by 23 percent when texting, while drivers across the board cut their reaction times by 33 percent when texting.

One major way the lock-out might be achieved is through Apple's new CarPlay, an iPhone-unique weaving together of smartphone and dashboard display, slated for release on certain new car brands in late 2014. CarPlay seems exactly the sort of connection between car and iPhone that could allow for texting functions to be barred when the driver is recognized to be behind the wheel. This could still, hopefully, allow a passenger to send texts.

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This is a matter of huge importance for younger drivers, who also happen to be vociferous Apple consumers — and seem to be pretty bad about the whole "eyes forward" thing on the road. A2013 study found that texting while driving surpassed drunk driving as the foremost cause of teenage car-crash deaths.