posted 4 years ago

IAM: Apple iWatch Could Distract Motorists

Smart Watches Concern Road Safety Charity

The Apple iWatch could “significantly impair driving performance” if the motorist is irresponsible, the Institute of Advanced Motorists has claimed. The iWatch – and similar products from rival manufacturers – enable the user to (say) receive telephone calls, check messages and monitor their health, etc. Clearly, this technology is remarkable – and in many scenarios poses no risk whatsoever – but the road safety charity is concerned that it could be as distracting as a hand-held mobile phone. Neil Greig, the Institute's Director of Policy & 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.”. The Department for Transport has, therefore, confirmed that using a smart watch while driving carries the same penalty as using a hand-held mobile phone. That is a one-hundred pound fine plus three penalty points on the driving licence. The latter could make motor insurance considerably more expensive. Should the worst happen the consequences could be significantly higher professionally, personally and legally. It is also noteworthy that it might be hard to claim innocence following a collision as a watch might contain a record of its recent actions. This could reveal that a message was sent seconds before the crash.

Distracting Technology In Vehicles

The Institute of Advanced Motorists has raised some interesting points, but let us consider technology in cars more holistically. There are countless devices a motorist could – but should absolutely not – interact with by hand while driving. These include smart watches, hand-held phones, music players, tablets and laptops, etc. Furthermore, cars increasingly have potentially distracting integrated systems such as satellite navigation, suspension setting menus, temperature control switches and fuel economy information. Some have an integrated wi-fi router too. But despite the wealth of technology at their fingertips the majority of motorists recognise it is their primary responsibility to look through the windscreen. Pressing buttons and staring at screens is secondary. To these people, smart watches and smartphones pose no threat. Okay; so a device beeps and flashes. So what? Ignore it. Simply concentrate on staying safe. If a motorist lacks self control a device can be switched-off or locked in the boot. Drivers - once we exclude the actions of others and/or rotten luck - are as safe as they want to be.