Do Distracted Driving Laws Cover Smartwatches?

texting and drivingThe law is constantly evolving to keep up with our technologically innovative world. For example, law enforcers will soon have to decide whether or not smartwatches are the same as cell phones when it comes to distracted driving. Will they be allowed on the road or will being caught using one cost the driver a sizable fine?

Ontario’s transportation ministry is leaving it up to the police to decide. The commotion around this issue comes after Apple’s unveiling of the Apple Watch, which is set for release in early 2015. Authorities believe this will create a lot of interest in smartwatches, and in turn increase the amount of instances they are seen on the road.

“There’s nothing illegal about looking at your watch to see what time it is, but if you’re consumed by the functions of the watch (that’s different),” says OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt in an interview.

While the police are still trying to decide the fate of this issue, the definition of distracted driving comes into play. Since it is currently defined as driving with a hand-held device and smartwatches are strapped to a user’s wrist, some situations may result in a charge of careless, rather than distracted, driving.

“Generally speaking we think that when people are driving they should drive, and focus on that very important thing that they’re doing — not be engaged in their electronic devices, whether they’re on their wrist or in their cup holder,” Canadian Automobile Association spokesman Ian Jack tells reporters.

Quebec told the Canadian Press that it is currently reviewing its distracted driving laws as well.