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Woman in Canada is fined for using Apple Watch while driving


iPF Novice
Oct 22, 2014
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Interesting article I spotted a few days ago, so thought that I would post it here as it may interest others.

I do not know about other countries, although I gather that many have similar laws to the UK, where it is illegal to use a mobile phone for any reason while driving. (It can be used if sitting in a cradle and is voice activated, I think.)

from Woman in Canada is fined for using Apple Watch while driving | Cult of Mac
A woman in Canada has been fined for using her Apple Watch behind the wheel of her car.

Victoria Ambrose was charged with distracted driving and told that an Apple Watch is no safer “than a cellphone taped to someone’s wrist.” She had argued that the existing 2009 law about distracted driving did not apply because it referred to a “handheld wireless communication device.”

Ambrose was stopped by a police officer at a red light in Guelph, a city in southwestern Ontario, Canada. The officer reportedly saw her looking at her Apple Watch “about four times.”

Justice of the Peace Lloyd Phillipps ruled that the Apple Watch is different to a regular watch because, “Checking one’s timepiece is normally done in a moment, even if it had to be touched to be activated.” On the other hand:

“Despite the Apple Watch being smaller than a cellular phone, on the evidence, it is a communication device capable of receiving and transmitting electronic data. While attached to the defendant’s wrist, it is no less a source of distraction than a cellphone taped to someone’s wrist.”

Ambrose was ultimately fined CAD $400 ($310) for breaking the law.

Why the law needs to keep up with technology
This isn’t the first time that new form factors of device have been accused of distracting drivers in the same way that as a smartphone might do. Back in 2003 a Google Glass (remember those?) user in California was stopped by a Highway Patrol officer for “driving with monitor visible to driver.”

We guess it’s another reminder of just why it’s important that legislation keeps up with technological progress. And, probably, why you shouldn’t drive with your Apple Watch on, either!

Source: National Post


Staff member
Dec 3, 2011
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Governments need to update their laws to account for technological advances.

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