The tech world was justifiably excited about the advent of a $1,000 iPhone that, in addition to costing $1,000, won’t have a Start menu (wait … that was Windows 8), I mean, won’t have a Home button.
Regardless of how much you wanted to get rid of that pesky Home button (and I know that was on the top of MY list for sure), the most important part of Apple’s announcement was buried in middle of the list of iOS 11 features: iPhones will now (optionally) disable themselves when you’re driving.
This is a big deal, because boneheads with smartphones are killing innocent people in greater numbers every year.
A study of 1,000 consumers conducted by the software vendor Adobe recently revealed that 14 percent of consumers checked their work emails while they were driving in the past month. For Millennials, that number jumps to 23 percent–nearly one out of four.
That’s really scary, because emails–especially work-related emails–tend to be longer and more complex than texts, and texting while driving is already responsible for one out of every four traffic accidents.
According to the nonprofit National Safety Council, nearly 330,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving, which is six times as many injuries as caused by drunk drivers.
This isn’t surprising when you do the math. If you’re traveling 55 MPH and you spend five seconds glancing at your smartphone, your car just traveled the length of a football field.
So, despite the safety features added to cars every year, traffic deaths have increased 14 percent over the past two years, the largest increase in more than 50 years, according to The New York Times.
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine people die every day as the result of distracted driving in the United States. That’s roughly 3,300 people a year, which is more than the 3,024 people killed by foreign terrorists on U.S. soil over the past 40 years, a figure that includes 9/11.
Unfortunately, this essential lifesaving feature was implemented in a half-**sed way. It can be easily turned off, ostensibly so that passengers can use the driver’s iPhone. But drivers can continue with their current worse-than-driving-while-drunk behavior.
There is one advantage, though, of making the Disable While Driving feature optional. The feature now functions as an informal test of the owner’s levels of intelligence and narcissism.
To wit: If you disable this feature, you’re a self-centered idiot.
More than that, you’re six times worse of a self-centered idiot than a drunk driver, who at least has the (bad) excuse of being an addict.
If I sound angry, it’s because I’ve been rear-ended twice in the past two years by idiots who were texting. In addition, the spouse of a colleague was rear-ended by a texting idiot with so much momentum that his car slammed into two pedestrians, killing them both.
So, kudos to Apple for at least trying to encourage decent behavior. Too bad the company didn’t make Disable While Driving mandatory. Because that’s what it’s probably going to take to get people to stop this insane behavior.
More Info: www.inc.com