Apple’s Watch has been heavily criticized by road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists(IAM), as they believe the new device may distract drivers more than smartphones do.
The IAM Director of Policy and Research, Neil Grieg, claimed an Apple Watch has the potential to be just as distracting as any other smartphone device — more so if you have to take your hand off the wheel and your eyes off the road to interact with it.
Once connected to an iPhone, the new next-generation timepiece can be used to place phone calls and to check messages.
Everyone already knows how much of a hazard distracted drivers can be on the roads, so it should come as no real surprise that the IAM has stated that the new smartwatch could “significantly impair driving performance.”
According to research carried out by the IAM, smartphone distraction was the cause of 1,960 crashes, many of which left passengers with serious injuries – including a tragic 110 fatal accidents between 2006 and 2010.
The charity is of the opinion that Apple’s latest product could be even more of a danger than phones, as drivers may be required to use two hands to operate the watch, “impacting speed, lane position and time spend looking at the road.”
Mr Grieg added: “Enforcement will be difficult for the police, but powers exist to seize and interrogate devices in the event of a serious crash. The very device that distracted you also has the power to convict you.”
It has also been officially confirmed by The Department for Transport that drivers caught using an Apple Watch, and rival smart watches, will face the same penalty as those using a hand-held mobile phone: Three penalty points on their license, and a £100 fine.