large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Judge rules Apple Watch use behind the wheel is still distracted driving

The Apple Watch offers iPhone users the convenience of a quick glance at alerts without without having to pick up their smartphones.

However, when it comes to sitting behind the wheel, a Canadian court has ruled there’s no distinction between the two devices.

In April, a Canadian woman was cited for distracted driving after she was caught checking her Apple Watch while waiting at a red light. Student Victoria Ambrose appealed the fine, claiming she was just checking the time, but the court rejected the testimony.

Related: watchOS 5

In a new ruling Justice of the Peace Lloyd Phillipps said the Apple Watch was essentially a “cellphone taped to the wrist” and fined the student $400 Canadian dollars (£230).

Ambrose claimed her case should be exempt from laws barring driving “while holding or using a handheld wireless communication device,” because she argued the Apple Watch was securely mounted.

However, police had also taken issue with her assertion she was just checking the time, saying she was observed looking at the watch four times while in a stationary position.

“Checking one’s timepiece is normally done in a moment, even if it had to be touched to be activated,” said Phillipps, the National Post reports (via BBC).

Phillips added: “Despite the Apple Watch being smaller than a cellular phone, on the evidence, it is a communication device capable of receiving and transmitting electronic data. While attached to the defendant’s wrist, it is no less a source of distraction than a cellphone taped to someone’s wrist.

“The key to determining this matter is distraction. It is abundantly clear from the evidence that Ms. Ambrose was distracted when the officer made his observations.”

Do you agree with the verdict? Or does the Apple Watch count as a securely mounted device akin to a built-in CarPlay touchscreen in the centre console? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.