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New Apple ‘Lock-Out’ Patent Could Prevent Texting While Driving

Mon 05 May, 2014 // Firstnumber Team
Texting while driving

Apple’s newest patent suggests automatic ‘lock out’ technology could make its way to the iPhone to combat phone use behind the wheel.

The automated system, described in the patent filing as a “driver handheld computing device lock-out” system, would use on-board sensors when connected to block the use of certain smartphone functions from the person driving, such as texting.

Experts have said a lock-out feature could change the culture around phone use while driving, helping to make roads safer for drivers. In the UK, it is illegal to use a hand-held phone while driving, including when stopped in traffic.

Studies have shown that texting and using a mobile phone from behind the wheel increases the likelihood of a crash by 23 times, and slows reaction times by as much as 35%.  

“As a market leader, Apple could have the power to change the culture behind texting and driving, if it works and is intuitive; that would be a very good step,” Paul Watters, head of motoring policy for the AA, told the Guardian.

“What we find in our research is that there’s an addiction here, to texting and using smartphones, it’s an addiction that is very hard to break even when in the car — it will take some system to help people break that addiction.”

Apple has already been working to expand into software for cars with CarPlay. The system integrates an iPhone with the car’s existing entertainment and communication systems so users can access popular features like iTunes, as well as its mapping app.

It’s possible the newly patented lock-out technology would also work with CarPlay, preventing users from texting, while letting them access other aspects of the smartphone through voice control and the car’s entertainment systems.

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