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Are smartwatches a risk to safe driving?

Are smartwatches a risk to safe driving?


What are the risk implications for driver distraction when it comes to smartwatches, like the recently announced Apple iWatch?
 

 

The latest piece of wearable technology – allowing people to make/receive calls and texts via their watch - has raised concerns over an increased potential for road accidents.

According to research by the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motoring), smartphone distraction was a contributory factor in 1,960 road accidents which resulted in injuries – the figure also includes 110 fatal accidents.

The concern is that a wristwatch (linked to the driver’s mobile phone) will result in a higher proportion of drivers being distracted than before.

The Department for Transport has announced that using an iWatch while driving will carry the same penalty as using a hand-held mobile phone of three penalty points and a £100 fine.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research said: “An iWatch has the potential to be just as distracting as any other smartphone device. Indeed more so if you have to take your hand off the wheel and your eyes off the road to interact with it.

“Enforcement will be difficult for the police, but powers exist to seize and interrogate devices in the event of a serious crash. The very device that distracted you also has the power to convict you.”