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Posted: 9.20.12

Distracted driving is a growing problem in jurisdictions around the globe, with the incidences of accidents cause by drivers using their cellular devices skyrocketing. of the much-anticipated iPhone 5 last week saw a massive response from consumers, with several million of these devices being ordered within a few days' time. Some experts are concerned that the new device could encourage distracted driving more so than ever before, thanks to the turn-by-turn directions offered to driving using Apple's proprietary Maps app. Maps replaces Google Maps, which had been included with the phone since its inception in 2007.

Apple and Distracted Driving

iPhone 5 Maps VS. GPS Navigation Systems

Apple utilizes TomTom software to provide drivers with driving instructions as they progress along their respective routes. The software is the same utilized in GPS devices carrying the name. While the iPhone's ability to provide these directions is no different to the traditional GPS navigation systems already found in many vehicles on the road, iPhones are not meant to be mounted to the dash. This will require users to look at their phone in order to get further directions. 

While GPS systems offer drivers a valuable service, many are hesitant to shell out the money required to purchase one of these expensive tools. The iPhone 5, on the other hand, will now provide phone users with the same service without the need to pay for an additional device. While there are some questions about how accurate the phone is when cell service is diminished, this is not expected to have much of an effect on whether drivers will opt for a secondary device. 

Negating the Risk

While PSAs and safety advertisements encouraging drivers to refrain from texting while driving have become quite common, some experts are concerned that drivers using their phones to navigate may be tempted to check notifications and read text messages while on the go. In response to the influx in such behavior, many car manufacturers are developing systems that allow phones to sync to large screens in the vehicle. Utilizing these dashboard screens, drivers can more effectively keep control of their cars. 

One problem posed by these technologies is that no standard currently exists. In practice, this means several phones will likely be incompatible with various systems as they reach the market. Further complicating matters is the fact that Apple's iOS devices do not support any of these systems, meaning iPhone users will not be able to take advantage of them. 

While Apple's iOS 6 does include a Do Not Disturb feature, which allows the user to silence incoming calls and notifications, many fear that users will be reluctant to utilize the feature while on the road. Theoretically, as drivers will now be relying on their iPhones to navigate, distracted driving could see an uptick amongst concerned consumers. Until the lack of standardized dash systems that are compatible with a wide assortment of different devices becomes the norm, experts believe that distracted driving will only continue to worsen as drivers become more reliant on their cell phones on the road.

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