With its new iOS 11 operating system for the iPhone, Apple has introduced a system for discouraging people from sending messages while driving.
Called Do Not Disturb While Driving, the feature builds on the Do Not Disturb setting already used to prevent calls and notifications from waking you up at night unless they are urgent.
When switched on via the Settings app, the new feature automatically recognises when an iPhone is in a moving car. This is done by either checking to see if it connected to a car's infotainment system via Bluetooth, or using Wi-Fi doppler effect to work out if it is in a moving vehicle.
When in a car, the iPhone will present nothing but a blank screen when the user tries to interact with it and unlock the handset to view notifications. If the user is a passenger, they can tell the phone they are not driving, and it fully unlocks.
If anyone tries to contact the driver while their iPhone's Do Not Disturb While Driving feature is switched on, they will receive an automatic reply (which is customisable in the Settings menu) telling them the driver is busy. If the sender absolutely needs to get in touch, they can reply with the word "urgent", which will come through loud and clear as a regular notification.
Although the system can be easily switched off by a driver telling the iPhone they are a passenger, it shows Apple is now taking responsibility for its customers who choose to text while driving, which is a leading cause of accidents, injuries and fatalities on the road.