A Canadian man says he received a $120 ticket for using his Apple Watch while driving. CTV News reports Jeffrey Macesin will also receive four points on his driving record.
A provincial police officer charged Macesin under the section of the Quebec Highway Safety Code that says “no person may, while driving a road vehicle, use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function.”
Macesin disputes that an Apple Watch counts as a “hand-held.” “It’s on my wrist,” he said. “That’s where it gets really controversial.”
“It was just a question of time before we actually got a case like this,” traffic lawyer Avi Levy said, noting the law isn’t clear. “I’m not convinced that the Apple Watch itself is a phone, it’s rather a Bluetooth device that communicates the telephone signal from the phone and it has been established under the law that you are allowed to use Bluetooth devices.”
While it may be unclear in Canada if using the Apple Watch while driving breaks any laws, many areas in the United States are a bit clearer on whether the wrist-worn device can be used behind the wheel.
9to5Mac notes that the following definitions of devices that cannot be used on the road in New York clearly match the Apple Watch: “broadband personal communication device”, “two-way messaging device”, “portable computing device”, “or any other electronic device when used to input, write, send, receive, or read text for present or future communication.”
A study published in March indicated that using a smartwatch behind the wheel can actually be more distracting than using a smartphone.