Smart watches are increasing in popularity. They are after all beautiful to look at, easy to use and incredibly practical without needing to have your mobile with you at all times or when it is inconvenient. However, using a phone when driving is illegal and can result in you receiving a £200 fine and six points on your licence. But how does sentencing occur if you use your smartwatch whilst driving?
It is illegal
The Department For Transport has confirmed that the use of smartwatches like the Apple iWatch is illegal under the same legislation that makes the use of mobile phones illegal. Therefore, the punishment for being caught using a smartwatch is the same as being caught using a mobile: £200 fine and up to six points on your licence.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Using a mobile phone or any device that distracts a driver whilst driving is extremely dangerous and is already illegal.”
The rules of smartwatch use
Obviously, it would be unfair to stop and fine drivers for simply wearing a smartwatch, because unlike a smartphone it doesn’t automatically take up the use of the hands. However, there are certain actions that will result in the police deciding to pull you over.
Careless and inconsiderate driving
Failure to be in proper control of your vehicle
Driving without due care and attention
If the police believe you are distracted from driving by the use of your smartwatch, they are obliged to pull you over and fine you. If the police find you have been sending messages for example from the watch whilst driving, that is all the evidence the police need. Inappropriate use includes using your smartwatch to change songs whilst driving, checking text messages, using an app and so on.
However, the use of hands-free calls and sat-navs are not illegal and are becoming essential with the new driving test including following a sat-nav’s instruction. Smartwatches have both functions. You can make hands-free phone calls and use it as a sat-nav.
If you can prove that you are driving safely without being distracted or using the smartwatch inappropriately whilst driving, you shouldn’t be fined. If you do need to send a message, change your sat-nav destination or change songs, pull over in a safe place and conduct it as you would with a smartphone. That way you aren’t endangering yourself or other drivers on the road.