The recently revealed patent by Apple could be linked to the upcoming CarPlay technology

Similar technology has long be available from Apple's rivals

Apple has patented a new method of tackling the problem of texting while driving, with a “lock-out” system that disables functionality when the phone detects the user is behind the wheel.

Similar apps are already available for Android devices while Microsoft’s Windows Phone comes with a specialized Drive Mode aimed at ‘reducing distractions while you’re behind the wheel’.

However, software of this sort has previously been unavailable for the iPhone simply because of Apple’s relatively restrictive approach to what apps can and can’t do on their devices.

Apple has obviously been looking at the technology for a long time (the patent was filed back in 2008 but has only now been published) but might be looking to speed its development due to the forthcoming introduction of CarPlay – the company’s ‘iPhone for the car’.

Research by road safety charity Brake has revealed that the use of mobiles while driving is a widespread problem, and the organization is currently calling to ban hands-free kits.

A survey by Brake revealed that although public awareness has led to a drop in the use of mobiles while driving, almost half of drivers (45 per cent) still admitted making calls while behind the wheel, while three in ten admitted sending or reading messages.

“Brake's advice to drivers is simple: remove the temptation by turning their phones to silent and putting them in the boot, out of sight and reach,” reads the report.

This certainly won’t be an option for Apple: the company has already made deals with several auto manufacturers to integrate CarPlay into their vehicles; a system that relies on connected iOS devices to power touch and voice-enabled displays.

CarPlay will let users make calls, find directions and access various music-streaming apps. Drivers will also be able to dictate texts, but Apple’s latest patent suggest they want to make certain that users aren’t tempted to pick up their smartphones.