Apple has recently latched onto what has admittedly become an increasing problem among today's teens: distracted driving due to cell phone usage. Distracted driving was the cause of over 3,000 deaths in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the number is likely to climb unless some things change.
Electronic devices have become such an integral part of people's lives that they feel lost without them in their hands. While the rude and distracted behavior this causes can be annoying in most circumstances, when it moves behind the wheel in a car it can turn deadly very quickly, and not just for the driver with the phone in hand.
iPhone's new app, combined with computer programs installed in certain new cars, will make it impossible for the driver to use her phone when the car engine is on. In theory, this is a great idea. In a perfect world, it would work. But it doesn't address the underlying problem. Teens often travel in groups, and not everyone in the car will have a phone with this app inside. Drivers always have the ability to borrow someone else's phone if their's doesn't work.
The solution to the problem is not gimmicks, it's education. Once a massive national effort went behind drunk driving education, alcohol-related fatalities went down significantly. The same result can reasonably be expected for distracted driving habits. Making lessons about distracted driving a part of driver's education is the ideal first step in lowering the numbers of teens and young adults who lose their lives over a text or phone call in a moment of distraction.
Rather than bore teens with mindless memorization just to pass a test, their time is better spent on a comedy defensive driving class that grabs their attention and keeps it there through the whole class. Lessons about distracted driving and other lifesavers sink in better when students are practicing active listening, instead of in lecture situations with dry material being forced upon them. It's definitely a serious business, but uses a humorous setting to get the point across.