The iPhone Do Not Disturb While Driving feature cut down on distracted driving

ios control center
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Despite the threat of fines, the emergence of ad campaigns, and even the introduction of new features, it would appear that we’re having quite a bit of trouble when it comes to cutting back on phone-related distracted driving. As per a new study based on data from Everdrive, an app from car insurance company Everquote, 37 percent of car trips include “at least some significant phone usage” while the car is in motion. In fact, during these trips, folks were apparently using their phones for as much as 11 percent of the time, which translates to about three minutes during a 29-minute average drive.

The Everdrive study, which was released on Wednesday, April 17, took into account 781 million miles of driving data collected from sensors like built-in GPS and accelerometers in your phone. And while the results are sobering, there does appear to be one potential fix — Apple recently released a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature in iOS 11, and this can apparently reduce phone usage on the road by up to 8 percent.

The feature detects when you’re in a moving vehicle, and automatically shuts off all notifications, and allows you to set an automatic response to incoming messages letting folks know that you’re temporarily out of commission because you’re operating heavy machinery.

Luckily, it would seem that folks are actively using the new feature. In its study, Everquote found that 70 percent of participants have kept the DND While Driving option turned on since it was released last September. Consequently, between September 19 and October 25, those who used DND on their iPhones used their mobile devices 8 percent less than those who did not have a similar feature.

Another great way to prevent distracted driving, of course, is to mandate it by law. The study found, unsurprisingly, that states with laws that forbid using a phone while driving also saw the least instances of phone use while driving — in fact, the states with the best non-distracted driving statistics included Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, and Idaho.

On the other hand, the worst states for distracted driving were all in the East Coast or northeast — they were Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.