Using a wrist-worn device like the Apple Watch while driving could land you in jail. That’s according to the Department for Transport, which says it will treat smart watches the same way it treats mobile phones.
That means Police have the power to land you with three penalty points and an on-the-spot fine of £100 if caught red-handed. Or is that red-wristed? You could also face two years in jail if either your phone or smart watch causes a fatal accident.
The Department for Transport said it is up to police to decide whether or not the driver was using their smart watch to take calls, send messages or check the time.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) director of policy Neil Greig welcomed the move: “An iWatch has the potential to be just as distracting as any other smartphone device. Indeed more so if you have to take your hand off the wheel and your eyes off the road to interact with it.”
“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,” he added, commenting on how police are now able to confiscate a mobile to see whether it was a contributing factor in a road accident.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists claims 1,960 crashes that resulted in serious injury between 2006 and 2010 were caused by smartphone distraction. It’s feared the popularity of the Apple Watch could cause an increase in the number of cases.
The Apple Watch wont be on sale until early 2015, but alternatives like the Pebble Steel, LG G Watch and Motorola Moto 360 are already available.
Staring at any display, whether on your wrist or in the dashboard, is certainly going to affect your ability to drive. But can police really judge fairly between telling the time and reading a text? Your thoughts appreciated.