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Should we ban smart watches while driving?

By Alexandra Craig - 1 September 2015 41

woman driving wearing smart watch

Using a mobile phone while driving has been an offence for quite some time now. But what about sending an SMS from an object that isn’t a phone?

My partner bought an Apple Watch on the weekend. Besides the fact that I think this product is a pointless piece of junk and a huge waste of money, it got me thinking about the ramifications of certain ways this type of technology is used.

We were driving along and when we stopped at a set of traffic lights, my partner looked down and read an SMS on his watch. Obviously it’s against the law to look at your phone when you’re at a set of lights, but things aren’t as clear if you’re using an Apple Watch.

Police say Apple Watches are treated the same as mobile phones, and that if you’re caught using one while driving you will be fined. On the other hand, lawyers say it’s a grey area. They say a watch can only be defined as a mobile phone if it can independently make calls and send/receive text messages.

Either way, this throws up all sorts of questions. If you glance over at someone in another vehicle who’s looking at their watch, it’s difficult to know for sure whether they’re reading an SMS or email. But they’re equally as distracted.

(Yes, I did tell my partner to stop looking at his watch and gave him a five minute lecture on why it’s the same as being on his phone.)

You can’t compose messages or emails on Apple watches unless you use voice recognition which may prevent people from looking at their phones. But what’s to stop a driver pulling their phone out of their pocket or handbag when they notice an SMS come through on their watch?

I’m stumped as to how preventing people from reading messages and emails from their watches can be enforced.

Aside from implementing a law that says you can’t touch your watch at all while you’re driving, I think it’ll be a tough one to police. How about you?

What’s Your opinion?

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41 Responses to
Should we ban smart watches while driving?
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P4rit4 1:22 pm 04 Oct 15

I think anything that distracts you while driving should be banned. Not sure about smartwatches but mobile phones will definitely need to be taken care of.

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