I think the majority of people can agree that text messaging while operating an automobile is a really bad decision. And clearly Apple thinks so, too.

Today the company was approved for a patent that “locks-out” drivers from using distracting features on “handheld computing devices.” The patent describes a mechanism that would allow Apple to determine when a person is driving to shut off these distracting features, too, which uses a combination of input from both the handset and the vehicle.

I’m guessing it would be easy for Apple to determine when a user is in a moving vehicle by simply reading the advanced accelerometer data the iPhone can gather. The patent application states that the car’s on-board computer could also block out all the distracting features once it’s been determined that a person is driving.

This means you won’t get those those supercrazyimportant text messages while driving. Instead, your car would save notifications for when you turn off the vehicle. The move would certainly improve driving habits and force people to take more pit stops on long trips rather than try to work from the road.

Apple has beefed up its technology for use in cars over the last year. The company first released a “Hands-free Siri” voice control setting for people who can’t look at their phones but still want to operate it. And last month Apple unveiled its much-anticipated CarPlay technology that will extend the functionality of your iPhone into an integrated dashboard unit.

Since this patent was filed back in 2008, it’s safe to assume that Apple has been thinking about this for quite a while now.

Via AppleInsider