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Driving with a smartwatch. What are the risks?

There is no law that dictates that you cannot wear and use a smartwatch, like the Apple Watch, while driving. But does that mean it is safe?

Smartwatches are becoming more popular, with an increased number of individuals strapping one on each morning. Not only are more people using them, the watches themselves are becoming more advanced, containing many of the same features as your cell phone, including texting.

Depending on the type of smartwatch you can respond to messages, update social media and use turn-by-turn directions. Certain ones even work with a cellular data plan. However, there is little discussion on how safe it is to wear your smartwatch while you drive.

Could you face a distracted driving charge?

Even if you are not touching your phone while driving, all notifications that go to the phone also go to the watch. This means that drivers’ phones are still distracting, even when not holding them. Police enforcement may be difficult due to the nature of wearing the smartwatch on the wrist; it is hard to prove that someone is being distracted by their wearable technology when they still have both hands on the wheel.

While it may be more difficult to prove, there could still be consequences of interacting with your smartwatch while driving. An Ontario woman faced charges of distracted driving after a police officer saw her interacting with her smartwatch at a stoplight. The judge ruled that wearing a smartwatch was “no less a source of distraction than a cellphone taped to someone’s wrist.”

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