Now that electronics manufacturers are releasing more and more smartwatch models, you might be wondering what the authorities’ stance is on using one while driving. Well, this clears things up a bit for our Canadian readers: a man named Jeffrey Macesin was recently pulled over and fined $120 for using his Apple Watch behind the wheel. Macesin told CTV News Montreal that the watch was inside a bag, and that he was only changing songs on it at that moment, since it was plugged into the car radio. He thought the cop only wanted him to get out of the way when he turned the cruiser’s lights on, but the officer obviously thought the device was a cause of distraction.
In the end, he got a ticket under Section 439.1 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code, which states “No person may, while driving a road vehicle, use a handheld device that includes a telephone function.” Technically, smartwatches aren’t handheld devices, but it has an LCD screen and smartwatch-like features, so they fall within a grey area. A lawyer who specializes in traffic violations, Avi Levy, told CTV News he believes a smartwatch is a Bluetooth device instead of a handheld, and “it has been established in the law that you’re allowed to use Bluetooth devices and it doesn’t constitute an infraction.”
In at least two other locations, New South Wales and Victoria, Australia, cops made it clear in April that if you use a smartwatch while driving, you could face penalties. As for everyone else outside those locations, it’s best to ask your local government or law enforcement agencies for now if you want to know your chances of being ticketed. Or, you know, you could just do the smart thing and keep your eyes off your shiny new gadget while driving.