This week we received theof what a woman had been fined in Canada for “Be distracted by watching the Apple Watch” at the wheel . On the one hand, the driver defended herself saying that “I was just looking at the time” , while the judge in charge of the case ruled that using the Apple Watch while driving is not very different from using the smartphone . Leaving aside the fact that this event has happened in Canada -whose laws are not applicable in our borders-, we have a rather interesting question: Can they be fined if you look at the smartwatch to see the time while driving? Let’s talk about the subject.
The short answer, and sticking to what the, is that yes , they can fine you. The so-called “Road Safety Law” includes in point G of its article 76 (on serious infractions) the following:
[It is understood as a serious infraction the] driving manually using mobile telephony devices, navigators or any other means or communication system, as well as using mechanisms to detect radars or kinemometers.
As you can see, the law, in force since 2015, makes clear reference to smartphones , but it is not too specific as far as smart watches are concerned. What is the problem? The duality of smartwatches. At what point does the device stop being a conventional clock to become a “communication system” ? Where is the line that separates both concepts? The truth is that diffuse. The law, as you know, must be interpreted and depends on each particular case. Be that as it may, what is clear is that The paragraph does not solve the doubt.
However, if we look at the article 13 (on general driving rules), we find that it is specified that “The driver must be able to control his vehicle at all times” and that “It is obliged to maintain its own freedom of movement, the necessary field of vision and permanent attention to driving, to guarantee its own safety, that of the rest of the occupants of the vehicle and that of the other users of the road” . Further, in point three it is collected what “Other exceptions to the prohibitions provided in the previous paragraphs may be established, as well as the devices that are considered to reduce attention to driving, as the advances in technology occur” .
That way, even if the law does not make explicit reference to smart watches, it is contemplated that these can be considered as detracting from the attention . You may use your smartwatch to check the time, but that does not mean you are not putting all five senses on the road. So, with this on the table, use an electronic cigarette, interact with Android Auto or CarPlay and even touch the radio, could be more than enough reasons for you to get a fine of up to 200 euros and the loss three points of the card .
“What if I interact with the clock through the voice?” , you will ask yourself. In principle nothing should happen, since at no time are you using the device manually, nor are you losing freedom of movement, but you could understand that talking to the smartwatch could interfere with your concentration at the wheel if we rely on point three . Possibly, and ultimately, it would be up to the judge on duty to interpret one thing or another.
Be that as it may, and by way of conclusion, the best is Leave the smartwatch quiet while you drive. You must keep in mind that you have to put all your attention at the time of driving. Preventable man is worth two, plain and simple.