Skip to main content

Apple's Latest Patent Could Stop Texting and Driving

Apple has drummed up a solution for reducing distractions while you're driving.

Photo Credit: bbernard / Shutterstock

(Image credit: Photo Credit: bbernard / Shutterstock)

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday (Mar. 23) published an Apple patent application that describes a method for reducing the number of notifications your iPhone and Apple Watch will get while driving. The ultimate goal is to keep you focused on the road and not seeing what your friends just texted you.

According to Patently Apple, which discovered the patent application, the technology needs a wearable like the Apple Watch to operate. When you're wearing the Apple Watch, it would use motion clues to determine whether you're driving. Upon doing so, it then reduces the number of notifications that would be sent to your iPhone or Apple Watch.

Distracted driving has become a huge issue, and some studies have suggested that people who are on their phones while driving are just as dangerous as drunk drivers. Several states have responded by fining those who are caught texting and driving or even holding their phones while operating a vehicle.

MORE: Everything We Know About the iPhone 8

However, that hasn't stopped many folks from using their phones while driving and potentially putting others at risk.

Like other prominent technology companies, critics have called on Apple to deliver technologies that reduce distracted driving. This patent application could be the company's way to achieve that.

But there's a bit more to the patent application than just reducing the number of notifications. Specifically, the application describes a possible feature that would allow Apple Watch to ignore your gestures to see a notification while you're driving. In essence, the smartwatch wouldn't accept your command and would instead wait until you're no longer operating the vehicle to let you know what you missed.

Of course, whether this technology ever comes to Apple Watch and the iPhone remains to be seen. Apple files for patents all the time on new inventions, but sometimes, they don't find their way to products. This could join that group.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.