Using smartwatch while driving counts as distraction: court


Distracted driving is distracted driving even when the device being used is hands-free, an Ontario court has ruled.

The ruling was made May 16 by a justice of the peace in Guelph, during a hearing over a distracted driving charge.

According to court documents, the woman had been ticketed after a University of Guelph police officer noticed the glow from an electronic device coming from the woman’s car, which was stopped beside his cruiser at a red light.

The officer reported that he saw the woman look up and down at the device four times in 20 seconds, and then fail to move forward when the light turned green. He pulled her over and learned that she had been looking at an Apple Watch.

Testifying in her defence, the woman said she was using the watch to check the time and needed to touch the screen to activate and deactivate it.

The justice of the peace found that unlikely and irrelevant, questioning why the woman would have moved her gaze to and from the watch multiple times to check the time once, and noting that she was still observably distracted.

As a result, the woman was found guilty of distracted driving and given 90 days to pay a $400 fine.





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