WASHINGTON, D.C. — October 12, 2023 — The National Distracted Driving Coalition (NDDC) urges drivers to “set it and forget it” on the second annual National Do Not Disturb While Driving Day, being held Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.
All cellphones can be set to automatically silence calls and alerts when the user is driving. Even better, once the feature is switched on, the driver never has to think about it again, says NDDC Chair Robyn Robertson, president and CEO of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation.
“When your phone rings or dings, the urge to check it is hard to resist,” Robertson said. “Putting your phone in Do Not Disturb While Driving mode eliminates that temptation. Your phone won’t ring or beep until you get where you’re going, helping ensure that you keep your eyes and mind on the road. It could save your life.”
Distracted driving remains a major problem on U.S. roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that distraction was involved in 29 percent of all crashes in 2019, resulting in more than 10,000 fatalities. Cellphones are among the main culprits. Crash risk is 2-6 times higher when drivers are manipulating a cellphone compared with when they aren’t distracted, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
While system designers use different names for the feature, the Do Not Disturb function can be set to turn on automatically when the user is driving on both iOS and Android devices. Using the phone’s sensors and proximity to known Bluetooth connections to determine if the owner is driving, the feature will silence incoming notifications and can be set to send an automatic reply informing the person calling or texting that the user is driving and will respond later.
However, past research found that only 1 in 5 iPhone users have switched the feature on. Getting more drivers to set their phones to automatically engage Do Not Disturb when starting a trip is the goal of the awareness day being held on October 19. This marks the second annual National Do Not Disturb While Driving Day, following the inaugural 2022 event.
“Turn this setting on and leave it on,” said Joel Feldman, founder of the Casey Feldman Foundation and EndDD.org. “It took my daughter being killed by a distracted driver for me to commit to being more focused behind the wheel. It shouldn’t take a tragedy for each of us to make that decision. Enabling this setting is a quick and easy step that we can all take right now.”
Organizations across the country are supporting National Do Not Disturb While Driving Day to encourage more attentive driving. For more information, visit usnddc.org.
For more information and downloadable social media graphics, visit the Do Not Disturb While Driving Day event page.
NDDC Steering Committee Press Contacts
Automobile Club Of Missouri