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Will ‘do not disturb’ apps help in the car?

Texting and driving is a huge issue, and cellphone companies know it. As a response, some have created “Do not disturb” apps that can silence notifications when you’re behind the wheel.

The basic idea is that people don’t necessarily want to text and drive, but they lack the willpower to ignore that buzzing or chiming phone when a text comes in. By switching on the app, they aren’t told of the text, call or other activity. The notifications only come when drivers reach their destination and stop.

Will it work? It can help. People only need a moment of willpower to turn it on when they start driving. Muting the distractions could lower the risk that they’ll pick up the phone.

That said, there are some potential problems. For instance, other people will get an automatic response saying that the app is on, and they can then text back if it’s urgent so that the message gets through. However, will friends and family respect this, or will they say messages are urgent when they aren’t just to push them through?

Another potential issue is that these apps aren’t mandatory, and the user still controls them. If someone wants to text and drive, it’s easy to disable the app and do it.

This safety feature only works if the driver is committed to it, and many people who would be committed are the same people who already have the willpower not to text and drive in the first place. Those who want to may simply not turn the app on at all. Does it really target those who need it most?

Texting and driving will likely remain a significant issue for some time, leading to an increasing number of accidents. If you’re hit and injured by a distracted driver, be sure you know what rights you may have to seek out compensation.

Source: Tech Crunch, “Do Not Disturb While Driving feature rolls out in Apple’s newest iOS 11 beta,” Sarah Perez, accessed Nov. 9, 2017