using phone while driving

You receive a text, email or notification while driving, sometimes the temptation to reach for your mobile phone can sometimes prove overwhelming.

In Australia, it is illegal to touch your mobile phone while driving. You may be permitted to use your phone while driving only if the phone is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle and doesn’t obscure your view of the road and it can only be operated without you touching any part of the phone, such as via Bluetooth or voice activation. From the 1st of February 2020, Queensland motorists caught using their mobile phones behind the wheel will face the country’s toughest penalties from this weekend. The fine will be hiked up to a whopping $1000, more than double the current penalty of $400 and drivers will also cop four demerit points, up from the current penalty of three.

To prepare you for these increased penalties, this Tech Tip will cover how you can set up your iPhone to help abide by the new QLD driving these laws.

Driver checklist

Before you get going, there are a few things you can do to take away the temptation of using your phone while driving.

  • Activate ‘Do not Disturb While Driving’ for Apple phones before you get into the car.
  • Set your GPS, or playlist before leaving home.
  • If you really need to make a call or send a message, these must be performed via Siri or controls integrated into the car.
  • Use a holder if you are using the phone for navigation or Siri to make and receive calls. This will help prevent you from looking down to check your phone. If you have a company car IT can provide a phone holder.

How to set up iPhone do not disturb while driving feature

You can enable a special mode called Do Not Disturb While Driving to prevent incoming phone calls, text messages, and notifications from distracting you. With this mode activated, your iPhone can sense when you’re in a moving vehicle and stop any notifications. Text messages can trigger a message telling the sender that you’re busy driving and if connected to Bluetooth, incoming calls are allowed (call will be sent to voicemail if not connected to Bluetooth or a hands free accessory)

Do not disturb while driving can be set up in the following ways.

  • Automatically: Your iPhone uses information like motion detection and network connections to sense that you might be driving, and turns on the feature.
  • When Connected to Car Bluetooth: Do Not Disturb While Driving starts when your phone connects to the hands-free system in your car.
  • Manually: Use a quick access button in your Control Centre to turn on Do Not Disturb While Driving before you start.
  • Activate with Carplay: This automatically enables Do Not Disturb While Driving while your iPhone is connected to CarPlay

How to activate the feature


Activate with Carplay

Apple’s CarPlay can be found in selected new model cars and is a hand free way to listen to music, dictate texts and e-mails in the car and get mapping information without having to touch the mobile phone.


Manually Turn Do not disturb while driving it on and off in Control Centre

If you elect to turn this on manually then following the initial steps above may seem cumbersome.  You can create a shortcut to turn this in your Control Centre for quick access. Your control centre is a feature that can be accessed by simply swiping up from the bottom of your screen to gain instant access to features such as Airplane mode, Do Not disturb, Flashlight and other handy features.  Its recommended that you add the Do Not Disturb While driving to your Control centre.

Go to Settings > Control Center, then tap Customize Controls.

Tap green cross next to Do Not Disturb While Driving.

On an iPhone X or later, you can swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen and tap  to turn the feature on or off. Or on an iPhone 8 or earlier, you can swipe up from the bottom of your screen and tap  to turn the feature on or off.

Do Not Disturb while driving icon

Send an Auto reply text

Another great option that is available is to send an auto text message to say to the other party that you are driving.  This autoreply message can be sent to select people such as emergency numbers, favourites or repeat callers

You can also customise the message people receive when they try to message or call you. If there’s an urgent issue and someone needs to get in contact with you immediately, they can break through Do Not Disturb While Driving by texting you “urgent.” This will override your Do Not Disturb settings and will notify you of the text immediately.

Check out this section in the Do Not Disturb settings to customise who you would like automatically send a reply to when the feature is being used. The four options include No One, Recents, Favorites, and All Contacts.


Keep Do Not Disturb While Driving enabled on your child’s phone

Are you the parent of a young driver? You can prevent changes to Do Not Disturb While Driving to make sure that it remains a part of their safe driving habits.

On your child’s iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Screen Time, then tap Turn on Screen Time. 
  2. Tap Continue, then tap This is My Child’s iPhone. From here, you can follow the prompts to enable specific restrictions, or tap Not Now until you reach Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  3. Tap Continue, then create a Parent Passcode.
  4. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions and enter your parent passcode. 
  5. Scroll down and tap Do Not Disturb While Driving, then tap Don’t Allow.

After you enable this feature on your child’s device, they won’t be able to turn it off without the parent passcode.

Do Not Disturb While Driving also tries to prevent you from accessing your phone in certain ways. When your iPhone goes into Lock mode after you’ve enabled Do Not Disturb While Driving and you try to get past the Lock screen, your phone gives you two options: Cancel or “I’m Not Driving.” Tapping Cancel keeps you at the Lock Screen; tapping “I’m Not Driving” unlocks your phone and turns off Do Not Disturb While Driving.

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