Man Ticketed For Looking At Apple Watch While Driving

An Apple Watch was the reason a man was recently pulled over in Montreal, Quebec, according to CTV News in Montreal.

Jeffrey Macesin was pulled over by the Canadian police for using his Apple Watch. For the offense, Macesin received a $120 fine and four demerits placed on his driving record. According to the police report, Jeffery thought that using his Apple Watch was permitted under Quebec driving laws, but Macesin was mistaken.

Macesin recounted the entire incident, admitting that he’d used his Apple Watch while driving his vehicle. The driver stated that his iPhone wasn’t even out at the time of the incident.

“I have it [his smartphone] in the bag charging while the auxiliary cable is plugged in to the radio and this controls my phone to play the music. So I was changing songs with my hand on the steering wheel [using the Apple Watch]. Going towards Vaudreuil, there was a cop car behind me and he didn’t have his lights on yet, but then he turned them on and I thought maybe he just wanted me to get out of the way. I was just confused.”

The laws in Quebec are pretty strict about what can and can’t be used while operating a motor vehicle. The police officer that pulled over Macesin explained that those items include the Apple Watch.

“No person may, while driving a road vehicle, use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function.”

However, Macesin might have a leg to stand on in contesting the ticket for using his Apple Watch, something that he indeed plans to do. The Apple Watch does not include a telephone function. The Apple Watch does contain technology that creates a connection to an iPhone much the same as a wireless Bluetooth headset would. The Bluetooth devices are permitted in Quebec, as long as the driver doesn’t actually physically handle their smartphone.

The problem with that defense, however, may be the spirit of the law. A prosecutor might contend that the law was instituted to discourage drivers from driving while distracted, something that could certainly be said about someone like Macesin addressing their iPhone while driving. However, if that’s the case, where is the line between changing a song via an Apple Watch and checking the date on a conventional watch. Both activities leave the driver distracted for a few moments.

In the United States, 14 states ban the use of handheld smartphones while driving. No states ban total use of cell phones while driving, however, 46 states have a no-texting law in effect for drivers. Of course, that begs the question: If you can’t text, why can you check your favorite website or look at a picture you took the previous night while driving? Actually, you can’t. According to the law, the term “texting” applies to any “act of composing, sending, reading text messages, email, or making other similar use of the web on a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle.”

But does that apply to the Apple Watch? What happens if and when the Google Glass becomes more popular? Are “smart glasses” something that would be prohibited to wear while driving? What do you think about state’s laws regarding things like smartphones and the Apple Watch? Is legislation keeping up with technology? Should it be stricter or more lenient? Sound off in the comments below.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

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