The patent published Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes a lock-out system that could detect when a user is driving using sensors in the phone or by pulling information while the phone is connected to a car. While a car is in motion the program would disable certain functions, such as text messaging. Currently, five automakers will feature Apple's CarPlay system in 2014 models, including Ferrari and Volvo. Twelve more automakers are working closely with Apple to bring CarPlay technology into their future vehicles.
"As a market leader, Apple could have the power to change the culture behind texting and driving, if it works and is intuitive; that would be a very good step," Paul Watters, head of policy for the AA, a U.K. based motoring organization, told Business Insider.
Distracted driving is a major public health threat and menace on our roadways. Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found distraction-related traffic accidents killed 3,328 people in 2012. That accounts for approximately 10 percent of all traffic fatalities. The number of people injured in distraction-related accidents climbed 9 percent last year to 421,000 Americans, according to NHTSA.