Distracted driving laws stretch to your smartwatch

Nate Swanner - Sep 18, 2014, 12:09 pm CDT
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Distracted driving laws stretch to your smartwatch

Thinking of smartwatches as sidestepping smartphones is a novel concept, but lawmakers in the UK are asking that we take a step back from that. The Department for Transportation there is asking drivers to think about how a smartwatches an contribute to distracted driving, just like a smartphone can. In fact, they’ll go after you all the same if you cause an accident.


Modern smartwatches act as a notification center on your wrist, and a go-between for some forms of messaging or navigation. Definitely neat, the genre is still a mobile device capable of skewing your attention. In the UK, drivers who message or otherwise engage in acts that cause distraction from the road are subject to penalty, smartphone, smartwatch, or any other type of wearable.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transportation had the following to say about smartwatches and other wearables that can distract you:

If records show you were texting from said watch, you’ve given police enough material to be able to charge you. We are considering a number of further options to deter drivers. Using a mobile phone or any device that distracts a driver whilst driving is extremely dangerous and is already illegal. We increased the fine to £100 last August for using a mobile phone whilst driving.

This doesn’t mean you need to remove your wrist-worn wearable during driving, or halt usage. Checking the time or glancing at a notification won’t cost you a ton and place you before the Magistrate.

If you cause an accident, and the authorities do their diligence and find you were engaging with your wearable in a meaningful way, there could be issues. Chances are, whatever may be distracting you can wait a few minutes.

Via: Know Your Mobile


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