Safety groups say 'driving mode' should be standard on all phones

Safety groups say 'driving mode' should be standard on all phones

Smartphone software providers are being urged to offer a 'driving mode' to prevent motorists using their phone behind the wheel.

Safety groups including Brake and the RAC's Be Phone Smart campaign have written to Android, Microsoft and mobile industry group the GSMA, asking them to offer an 'opt out' driving mode as as a standard feature.

Technology to automatically prevent distracting alerts while driving is urgently needed to tackle "the needless deaths and serious injuries caused by drivers using handheld mobile phones behind the wheel", they said.

The letter comes ahead of Apple's release of its iOS 11 system update, which will include a 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' mode that detects when someone is driving and turns off calls, text messages and notifications.

In the letter, the coalition urges Android and Microsoft to follow suit with a driving mode which will:

Automatically, as a default setting, switch on when sensors in the handset detect the user is driving;

Turn the screen blank and suspend any push notifications;

Be able to send automatic replies via SMS to anyone contacting the user to inform them that they are driving;

Only permit the handset to be used in conjunction with a hands-free device when enabled; and

Provide evidence that the phone was in 'drive safe' mode -- potentially leading to reduced insurance premiums.

Brake's director of campaigns, Jason Wakeford, said: "The illegal use of handheld mobile phones when driving is a growing menace and a major threat to road safety. Research shows that using a phone at the wheel affects reaction times as much as drink driving, increasing the chances of a crash.

"As a society, we have become addicted to our mobile phones, but a split second distraction caused by a call, text or notification behind the wheel can be deadly. The industry must play its part and include technology as standard which helps keep drivers' attention on the road, saving lives and preventing serious injuries."

Other organisations behind the letter include the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety, Brighton and Hove City Council, Road Safety GB, RoadPeace and RED Driving School.

Do you think this technology will become a standard smartphone feature? And will it increase road safety?



 


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Posted 15 September 2017 by Ellie Priestley

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