Distracted Driving Laws Yet to Catch Up With Apple Watch

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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While several states and countries have laws in place that make operating a handheld device such as a smartphone or portable media player illegal, the release of the Apple Watch has created a gray area in terms of distracted driving legislation. Given that the Apple Watch is technically not a handheld device, the laws in many jurisdictions are left open to interpretation at this point.

Regardless of the laws in your local area, it is highly recommended that you keep your eyes on the road and remain focused on driving at all times. Using your Apple Watch while driving is dangerous for both you and the drivers sharing the road with you, no matter how skilled of a driver you may be, and distracted driving in general is still a punishable offense in many jurisdictions.



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Article Link: Distracted Driving Laws Yet to Catch Up With Apple Watch
 

jblagden

macrumors 65816
Aug 16, 2013
1,156
640
I wouldn't say that the distracted driving laws need to be updated for  Watch. I would say that they haven't been updated for smartwatches in general.  Watch isn't the only smartwatch, it's only the coolest. It would be like saying that any a Blackberry isn't a smartphone because it isn't an iPhone. A Blackberry isn't preferable, or as good as an iPhone, but it is a smartphone nonetheless.
 
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Z400Racer37

macrumors 6502a
Feb 7, 2011
701
1,654
Is it just me, or has anyone else texted and drove for the length of that video and not almost died like 12 times? Lol...
 

raj

macrumors member
Aug 13, 2003
30
5
San Diego
Not a new problem

Come on, people! This isn't a new problem. Smart watches have been available for quite a few years now and Apple is only the latest version (and not necessarily the best). Driver distraction is driver distraction, regardless of the origin of the distraction. We don't need a specific law about every possible distraction. What about people who drive with a baby in a carrier in the back seat? Do we have a specific law about that distraction? What about male drivers with their wife or girlfriend wearing a short skirt in the passenger seat? Do we have a law about *that* distraction?
 

Popeye206

macrumors 68040
Sep 6, 2007
3,148
836
NE PA USA
Ahhh.... he'll get better at it with the smart watch over time. Just needs some practice. :eek:

Really.... they're all bad, but this seemed like a very limited test.
 

matty.p

macrumors 6502a
Jun 24, 2010
506
260
Portland, OR
That's not a completely accurate headline, at least here in Oregon and other states w/ similar laws we have a distracted driver law that includes: "Oregon law bans the use of a “mobile communication device” while driving. This device is defined as a text messaging device or a wireless, two-way communication device designed to receive and transmit voice or text communication."

I can't imagine any judge arguing that an Apple Watch doesn't fit into this category.
 

iTom17

macrumors 6502a
Aug 2, 2013
921
1,019
Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Using a smartwatch while driving is considered the same as using a smartphone here in the Netherlands. In fact, a more specific law says the following about how phones are forbidden to use while driving:

holding it in your hand, keeping it clamped between ear and shoulder, cell phone on the wrist, cell phone between headscarf, etc.


Plain as simple actually. I would turn on Do Not Disturb while driving. But I wouldn't take it off. :p
 

Derekuda

macrumors 6502
Oct 2, 2004
317
1,034
Get READY!!! Soon it will be illegal to use/wear your smartwatch while driving
 

rcread

macrumors member
Jan 10, 2006
72
31
Kenmore, WA
I've observed that no one actually follows any of these laws. They are just discreet about the behavior. With a bluetooth headset, I can have Siri text, read emails or give me directions all day long without danger of being pulled over.
 

Swordylove

macrumors 6502a
Apr 23, 2012
622
110
It is sad that the world needs such overly specific laws to prevent distracted driving. Just make 'distracted driving' illegal in general and leave the specifics to common sense.
 

Joe Rossignol

Editor
Staff member
May 12, 2012
635
1,801
Toronto
That's not a completely accurate headline, at least here in Oregon and other states w/ similar laws we have a distracted driver law that includes: "Oregon law bans the use of a “mobile communication device” while driving. This device is defined as a text messaging device or a wireless, two-way communication device designed to receive and transmit voice or text communication."

I can't imagine any judge arguing that an Apple Watch doesn't fit into this category.
You're right, this is useful information that I've updated the article to reflect.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,253
12,212
Europe
It is sad that the world needs such overly specific laws to prevent distracted driving. Just make 'distracted driving' illegal in general and leave the specifics to common sense.
I agree. Indeed, I think distracted driving is already illegal. So is reckless driving. I do not understand the need for a statute for every single derivative.
 

dthmtlgod

macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2007
271
7
Syracuse, NY
Note to the public, the Apple Watch is not the first smart watch released :)
Why is this now an issue, Pebble, LG, Sony, Martian and others have had their products released and in the wild for years.
 

SteveBlobs

macrumors member
Jan 29, 2013
85
149
Is it just me, or has anyone else texted and drove for the length of that video and not almost died like 12 times? Lol...
I think you're missing the point. It's not that you will always die when you glance at a text message, it's just showing how little time it takes being distracted for you to die.

When I was recently shopping for a new car I was hoping to find one I liked that also included Carplay. I wasn't successful, but I've heard negative things about that technology too, mainly that it makes you a much more distracted driver than an ordinary car radio system. I look forward to this sort of technology making it into our vehicles, but I hope the companies behind them (Apple, Google) put the effort into making them safe.
 

WestonHarvey1

macrumors 68020
Jan 9, 2007
2,458
1,221
It will save lives in comparison to the situation with smart phones. People aren't going to stop using technology while driving. They just aren't. So far better to have something they can glance at and use Siri on without fumbling around with a smartphone.
 

medazinol

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2002
225
333
Toronto
It's just a matter of time before operating anything electronic or having buttons, including the radio or climate controls, inside cars will be illegal.

My new Lincoln MKC has voice control functions that are quite extensive, including climate control but don't go quite far enough (it can read text messages but I can't respond to them) and bluetooth control over my phone is rudimentary.

Laws will require that cars have voice control only which begs the question, maybe Apple is indeed doing a secret project to improve car interfaces like voice control with Siri in order to beat legislation to the punch and have a functional system that car makers can implement....
 
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