University of Guelph student fined for using Apple Watch while driving

A new precedent has been set for using smartwatches while driving

Apple Watch Series 3 on wrist

A student from the University of Guelph has been fined $400 for looking at her Apple Watch while driving.

Victoria Ambrose was driving her car on the university campus and was pulled over for interacting with her Apple Watch at a stoplight.

She was stopped at a light on South Ring Rd according to Guelph Today, when a campus police officer pulled up beside her. The officer is said to have noticed the glow from her watch and then saw that she was paying attention to it instead of progressing through the light as it turned green.

She was pulled over and charged with using a hand-held communication device while driving. This charge is based on the Highway Traffic Act 78.1, which prohibits anyone from driving a vehicle while holding or using a handheld wireless communication device.

Ambrose argued that she was just checking the time on her watch, which she says she needed to tap the screen in order to do — despite the fact that the Apple Watch includes a raise to wake feature.

Justice of the Peace Lloyd Phillipps, the judge on the case, wrote in his ruling that “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.”

There’s no denying that an Apple Watch can be used similarly to a cell phone, and this case sets an interesting precedent for all smartwatches and what people should do with them while driving. According to this case, it seems like users are supposed to remove their smartwatch while driving.

It’s possible that at some point Apple could release an update that adds a ‘Do Not disturb While Driving’ feature to the wearable.

Ambrose has 90 days to pay her fine.

Source: Guelph Today