Your smartphone while you drive
Using smartphone behind the wheel can be dangerous. Even a 2-second distraction can increase the risk of accidents by 20%, claims a study by driving analytics company Zendrive. The US-based study examined sensor data from more than 3 million drivers and 5.6 billion miles of trips and found that drivers are using their phones on 88% of their journeys. According to WHO (World Health organisation), car crashes accounts for 1.2 million people deaths and over 50 million disabilities every year. A recent study (published in April 2017) by an NGO SaveLife Foundation, involving eight major Indian cities and 1,749 drivers, found that 60% people do not stop before answering a call, about 20% were involved in a near car crash while using a mobile phone and 34% had to apply sudden brakes because of distraction.
Now smartphone companies are adding smarter features that would help users fight distraction caused by an incoming call or message when they are driving.
Apple has introduced a Do Not Disturb While Driving mode in iOS 11. It stops all incoming messages and calls on an iPhone while the user is driving. To save callers from making repeated calls, it allows the user to create an iMessage reply which will be automatically sent to the callers after the first call is ignored.
It doesn’t require to be connected to a car through Bluetooth to work, but uses your iPhone’s sensors and signals such as the accelerometer, GPS and the rate at which it finds and loses Wi-Fi networks in the vicinity. iPhone users can activate it in Settings -> Control Centre -> Customise Controls-> Do Not Disturb. Here you can choose to switch on do not disturb mode automatically, manually or when connected to your car’s Bluetooth.
The user can choose to receive calls from select contacts during emergency if they call again within three minutes. Once the drive is over, the user can get out of the Do Not Disturb mode from the lock screen itself.
Apple’s rival, Google has come up with an app called Pixel Ambient Services. While it is listed on the Play Store, it is currently compatible only with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones. All we know, as of now, is that the app switches on the do not disturb mode which will block all incoming calls when the car is moving and the phone is paired to other Bluetooth devices such as the car’s system. The feature is likely to be roll out on other Android devices too.
Samsung which owns 23.3% of global smartphone market share, as per IDC’s (International Data Corporation) Q2 2017 report, has developed an app called In Traffic Reply which prevents users from checking their smartphone while driving by sending an automated reply to the caller. The app uses your smartphone’s GPS sensor to determine when a user is driving. It is currently in beta mode and available in select countries.