Apple's app stops you using your smartphone while driving

  • New iOS 11 feature prevents notifications coming through
  • Can automatically sense when you're in a van and activate
  • This function could save your driving licence and job

The best way to avoid being caught using your mobile phone while driving is to completely remove the temptation.

And that’s exactly what Apple’s next operating system, called iOS 11, is going to do. The new Do Not Disturb While Driving system is an extension of the existing Do Not Disturb function on Apple devices, which prevents all notifications unless they’re from a pre-selected group of favourite contacts.

Click here for a guide to Apple CarPlay

However, the device can now also sense that you’re in the van and automatically initialise this function. It’ll then notify people trying to contact you that you’re driving and you’ll get back to them later.

You’ll need to set the phone up to do this the first time you use the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature, but it’ll automatically activate thereafter. If you’re not driving this time, but a passenger, then you’ll also be able to manually disable the feature.

Why shouldn’t I use my phone while driving?

Well, apart from the fact that it’s an inherently dangerous thing to do, since it's extremely distracting while concentrating on driving, it’s also illegal. You can expect a £200 fine and up to six penalty points on your licence if you’re caught, meaning new drivers who have passed less than two years ago will have to re-sit their test.

It’s also possible you’ll be summoned to court, in which case you could be banned outright and fined up to £1,000 for car and van drivers and £2,500 if driving a lorry or a bus.

Furthermore, you could have employment issues if your company has a Driving at Work policy – many blanket-ban employees using their smartphones at all, regardless of whether you’re making use of Bluetooth handsfree connectivity.

What about Android devices?

While there isn’t currently a Google-designed Android version of Do Not Disturb While Driving, there are many third-party applications that offer similar functionality.

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