Have you already heard about the release of iOS 11's latest beta on Wednesday? Testers can now get their hands on one of the new mobile operating system's most important – if not most glamorous – new features: a long-needed "Do Not Disturb While Driving" mode. Announced in June at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, the feature aims to combat the very dangerous practice of texting from behind the wheel, while also switching off other alerts that entice people to look at their phones while driving. In 2015, 3,477 people were killed because of distracted driving, and 391,000 were additionally injured.
Apple’s “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature isn’t a tool to fully prevent texting or alerts while in a moving vehicle. Instead, it offers to clamp down on distractions at a system level in a way that Apple has never before offered. The feature, when active, will be able to tell if you’re in a car when your phone is connected to the car’s USB connection or Bluetooth. It will also be able to use the iPhone’s sensors to determine your speed, even if your phone isn’t connected to a car. When the car is in motion, anyone else who texts will get an automated response that reads: “I’m driving with Do Not Disturb turned on. I’ll see your message when I get where I’m going.” A second text also gives them a way to break through and get your attention in the case of an emergency by telling them, “If this is urgent, reply ‘urgent’ to send a notification through with your original message.”
Parents also can choose to enable the new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature for their teenage drivers by enabling it in the Restrictions (parental controls) menu in iOS's Settings. You also can turn it off and on for yourself from the newly revamped Control Center, where a widget is available that lets you enable the feature with a push of a button. While on, your phone's screen is dark and only critical alerts get through. The feature's settings also let you customize the text that's sent and specify who will receive it (Contacts, Favorites, etc.) Plus, if you're a passenger, you can opt to temporarily disable the feature. iOS 11 is currently in beta, and will be released to the public this September.