The Institute of Advanced Motorists, and other groups, have warned that current legislation means that the use of the Apple iWatch, or any other smartwatch, while driving is illegal. It has been pointed out, however, that policing this particular offence will prove difficult because the police will need to be able to try and prove that the driver was, in fact, using their watch for anything other than hands free type services.
The Apple iWatch has been dubbed as the next big thing for Apple, and is seen as current CEO Tim Cook’s opportunity to step out of the shadow of Steve Jobs. It offers a variety of features and functions, including alerts to let drivers know of calls and messages, and has been described as being the closest thing to a smartphone that a person can wear on their wrist. It isn’t the first smartwatch on the market, however, and virtually all require some kind of physical interaction with the device in order to enjoy the benefits that they have to offer.
The Department for Transport has previously announced that it wants to double the number of points that a person receives for speaking on their mobile phone, or using mobile devices to check social networking sites, and this would mean six penalty points on a driving licence for a single offence. This penalty would naturally extend to the use of the iWatch as well.
Some question marks have been raised over these possible offences, because the law does allow for hands-free device usage. This means that drivers with Bluetooth headsets and other Bluetooth devices are free to speak, as well as answer and make calls while driving, and some phones will even compose texts and perform other functions without the need to touch them. The iWatch will be similar in some respects.
The IAM has warned motorists that, even though the law may be difficult to enforce, because of the difficulties of proving that somebody was using a mobile phone, forces are becoming accustomed to taking mobile phones and checking call and message data to determine whether the use of the device was the potential cause of any accident.