Apps to disable texting while driving have one serious flaw

Companies that make smartphones understand that texting and driving is a serious issue. It causes car accidents every day. These companies have taken some heat in the press for enabling this behavior, even though the responsibility naturally falls on the drivers themselves.

To respond, manufacturers have added Do Not Disturb features, which essentially shut down notifications when someone is driving the car. If the person tries to use the phone, they just get a warning box telling them that it has been disabled. No notifications will come through until the car stops; for instance, after driving for an hour, you may get a whole conversation from a group text all at once. This is supposed to reduce your desire to respond on the road, cutting back on the temptation.

These apps and safety features are a good idea, but they do have one serious flaw: You can turn them off.

A lot of people just disable them right away, and that’s the end of it. Even those who keep them on have the option of telling the phone that they’re not driving, which then opens it back up.

This feature is necessary, of course, because a lot of people simply ride along as passengers, and they don’t want the phone to detect that they’re in the car and lock them out. However, it also means that only people who make the conscious choice not to be distracted will benefit from these features. Those people may have been less likely to text and drive anyway.

If you get hit by a distracted driver, make sure you know how to seek financial compensation.