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How the Google Pixel 2's Do Not Disturb driving mode works

The Pixel 2 may help curb distracted driving with an automatic Do Not Disturb mode that is activated when in a moving vehicle.

Published onOctober 19, 2017

Smartphone notifications can be an annoying interruption when you’re at your desk, or something far worse if you’re driving. The Google Pixel 2 has a (kind of) solution to this thanks to an automatically enabled Do Not Disturb mode for driving.

The functionality, which is listed on the Google Pixel 2’s support page, is activated once you connect to in-car Bluetooth or when the phone detects that it is in a moving vehicle (it should take no more than one minute). It will then block all interruptions, text, email notifications, calls — everything except alarms — until you walk with the phone for 30 seconds, or it stops moving for 10 minutes, like if you’re parked.

The feature isn’t switched on by default, however, you must enable it in Settings > Sound > Do Not Disturb, where you’ll find “Driving” under “Automatic rules.”

Here’s how Portrait Mode works on the Google Pixel 2

The inclusion of this feature is a sensible move from Google, especially in a time when smartphones are being linked to unprecedented pedestrian deaths in the US (even though it’s said that distracted driving deaths were down 2.2% in 2016 compared to the previous year). No reasonable person would argue that the potentially thousands of smartphone-related vehicle deaths are simply the price one should have to pay for the right to use a phone while driving — so most people will no doubt be pleased to hear about the feature.

There is a drawback to the system, though, in that it can’t tell if you’re driving or just riding along. This means all passengers with a Google Pixel 2 will be put on the Do Not Disturb mode if they have it enabled. Still, that’s probably a better problem to have than a manslaughter charge, eh?

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