A Step in the Right Direction

04.20.17 - Apple Watch

When you’re driving around on the road it’s important that you have as few distractions as possible. Unfortunately, our society has made it extremely possible for you to be completely distracted while driving. Whether you want to look back to the beginning of being a distracted driver with the first drive thru fast food restaurant or the fact that we now have cupholders for drinks, items to keep our coffee hot and even coolers and in car refrigerators to have a cold beverage when it’s hot on the road. While these distractions are certainly to blame for some of the troubles we have when driving there is something worse that we use on a daily basis.

Our smartphones are now making it easier than ever to be completely distracted when driving. Look around you on the road; how many people do you see behind the wheel with their hand and phone to their ear, how many appear to be juggling a smartphone by looking at the screen while they’re driving. In 2014 alone there were 3,179 people killed and 431,000 injured in distracted driving crashes and that number has grown as more drivers are on the road than ever before.

Recently Apple created an item that may be able to help us avoid the troubles that come with distracted driving. They did this by answering one of the fundamental questions of distracted driving; what causes a driver to be distracted? When you connect your music from your phone to the Bluetooth system of your car you can sort through the music using your steering wheel controls which makes it easy to keep your eyes on the road, but what happens when you get a notification from your emails or from one of your social media connections?

The inevitable happens when you receive one of these notifications; you look at your phone. It’s always the first reaction you have which means you have to take your eyes off the road in order to see what the notification happens to be. Of course, most of the notifications you receive aren’t that important. You’ll see who “liked” a post or sent you a funny picture, and these are certainly not worth the results of what can happen if you take your eyes off the road. Apple has taken a step in the right direction, but it’s only a step so far.

Apple has created the smartwatch which is a watch that’s connected to your Apple iPhone. Using this watch, when you’re driving the watch can signal the phone to turn off all notifications until you stop and leave the vehicle. It does this by detecting when you’re making motions while wearing the watch that are similar to the motions you make when driving in a car. This may not be a foolproof plan and it works only for those who are wearing the smartwatch, but it does make a difference and will help keep you from being distracted while driving.

Why wouldn’t Apple just create a system to shut your phone down when you’re travelling at what is construed as a speed that a car would travel? Because if this were the case those who are passengers in the car, on a train, on a bus or in a cab wouldn’t be able to use their smartphones either, this would be a serious problem for these users. The step Apple is taking is the right one to move forward, but we’ll still need more to help make sure we have fewer distracted drivers on the road causing accidents.

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