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Apple unveils new driving safety feature, local police and drivers react

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-Apple has unveiled their new iOS 11 software, which will have some cool updates including one-handed keyboards. But one feature stands out among the rest because it can help save lives.

Similar to the “Do Not Disturb” feature already on the iPhone, Apple created “Do Not Disturb While Driving.”

Your phone automatically mutes all notifications when it detects you’re driving, or when the phone is connected to Bluetooth or Wifi. That includes text messages, news updates and app notifications.

If someone does message you while you’re behind the wheel, your phone will respond with an automated message letting that person know you’re unavailable.

Passengers have the ability to shut the feature off.

“It has the potential to be a pretty good safety feature,” said Chief Bill Thompson from Saint Joseph County Police. “Especially for the key demographic of younger drivers who mostly are the ones on their devices,” Thompson said.

ABC 57 News rode along with Chief Thompson to track down distracted drivers for about 30 minutes and saw dozens on the roads throughout the county.

You can watch it here:


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 distracted drivers died in 2015.

That’s why police officers are getting behind Apple, because they see the bad habit constantly.

“It’s certainly something that we’re concerned about it’s something that we see increasingly as a cause and contributing factor to crashes,” said Chief Thompson.

For “Google Maps” users, you’re allowed to use the navigation app while behind the wheel. However, the phone will stop you from plugging in a new destination during the trip.

“It sounds like a good idea. I mean I know at times, I am tempted to check my phone,” said Garrett Jansen, a Michiana driver.

Although several drivers we spoke to support the move, some had doubts.

“A lot of people if they’re not connected to their phones if they don’t have that direct moment with it then they’re a little bit lost,” said Jordan Weninger, a mom and Michiana driver. “I think a lot of people will go around it,” Weninger said.

iOS 11 is expected to be available for iPhone users this fall.

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