With confirmed orders for more than 2 million new iPhone 5 phones, it’s easy to believe that hundreds of thousands of American drivers will now have access to even more sophisticated information technology at the touch of their finger tips. Apple’s new OS6 software for the iPhone 5 and other compatible phones offers users a variety of free software and services. As a Kansas City Lawyer, I don’t believe there is any doubt that the new generation of smart phones will significantly increase motorist risk.
Some of the features do seem to have been designed with a view to reducing a motorist’s use of hands to hold the phone. The iPhone 5 comes with a voice-narrated direction system that provides users directions for getting from Point A to point B with minimal distractions. A voice-based system obviously reduces the motorist’s reliance on a hand-held GPS device, and thereby possibly reduces distracted driving risks.
Apple is also making a token nod to the distracted driving concerns many driving safety experts have. For instance, the company has included a Do Not Disturb feature, in the new software, but how many users will use the software is an open question. The feature allows you to decline any voice calls or to add a reminder facility that reminds you later to return the voice call. The downside is that the feature is voluntary, and users can decide whether to switch it on or off.
Plus, there are all the other distractions that are more enticing when viewed on a larger iPhone screen – text messages, reading and responding to Facebook status updates and Twitter messages – which could possibly increase crash risks.