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The most important iOS 11 feature is one you may not want to use—but should

Written by ATLcomputerdude. Posted in Latest News.

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It's only been a couple of days since Apple introduced the next version of iOS and already there's a lot to look forward to. 

Marquee features like a more intelligent Siri and Apple Pay in Messages aside, there's Wi-Fi sharing with friends, one-handed keyboards, and probably a few we don't even know about yet.

But none of these even come close to being the most important feature of iOS 11: Do Not Disturb While Driving.

Yes, the driving feature, which automatically mutes notifications when it detects you're driving, stands to be the most consequential feature of iOS 11 for one reason: it could actually help save lives.

Before you roll your eyes too hard, consider this: distracted driving contributes to thousands of accidents — many of them deadly — each year. And while it's difficult to track the full scale of the role smartphones play in distracted driving accidents, the numbers we have suggest it's already a significant problem.

In 2014, the last year for which there is detailed data, there were 404 deaths on U.S roads "directly linked" to the use of a phone. At least 33,000 more were injured in crashes linked to mobile phone use. 

That may not sound particularly large compared with the overall number of fatalities and injuries, but the true numbers are likely higher since it can be difficult for investigators to confirm the role a phone played in an accident after the fact. And experts do agree that traffic fatalities are on the rise, and smartphones could be at least partially to blame.

Teens, a group for which car crashes are the leading cause of death, are especially at risk. They use electronic devices, including phones, at significantly higher rates than any other age group, according to NHTSA data, so it's no wonder they are also more likely to be involved in a fatal crash linked to distracted driving than their older counterparts.

The most important iOS 11 feature is one you may not want to use—but should

That's why in November, the NHTSA proposed a new set of guidelines specifically aimed at smartphone makers to help combat the danger

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