Apple iPhone tech could halt phone use at the wheel

25 Apr, 2014 10:39am Chris Ebbs

New patent reveals software that could stop people texting and using other apps at the wheel

Apple has submitted a patent that could lock users out of their iPhones if it detects that they are driving.

The tech would prevent motorists from sending text messages or using apps while they’re behind the wheel.

The patent document claims the phone could work out if is moving by using a combination of GPS, the location of mobile masts and even the phone’s camera. It suggests that the smartphone wouldn’t need any extra software or modifications to carry out the function.

Plus, the document suggests the tech could be enhanced by a signal sent from the car, or its key, to tell the phone it’s being driven and lock the phone.

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Some Android mobile apps already perform a similar function, but nothing’s been done so far for Apple devices. Plus these systems are also self-regulated so the driver has to ensure themselves that it has been switched on. Instead Apple's tech would work automatically when driving is detected.

The patent was submitted back in 2008, but has only just been published. The document also claims that it is 'doubtful' that the police are able to stop people from texting and driving as it is harder to spot and can be done on the drivers lap.

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While making calls behind the wheel has dropped, sending and receiving messages continues to be a major problem. According to a recent survey by road charity Brake, three in 10 drivers admitted to sending or reading messages while driving. This rises to four in ten for drivers aged between 18 to 24 years old.

The charity also found the use of apps behind the wheel to be an increasing problem, with one in eight motorists admitting to using them while driving.