Pulled over in Montreal, Quebec recently, Canadian Jeffrey Macesin received a $120 ticket as well as 4 demerits on his driving record after police pulled him over for using his Apple Watch while driving his car. Detailed by CTV News in Montreal, Macesin was under the impression that using his Apple Watch while operating his vehicle was permitted, despite the risk of distraction when turning attention away from the road.
Macesin admits to using the smartwatch while driving, specifically to operate music functions. Recounting the incident, Macesin referred to his smartphone stating “I have it in the bag charging while the auxiliary cable is plugged in to the radio and this controls my phone to play the music. So I was changing songs with my hand on the steering wheel. Going towards Vaudreuil, there was a cop car behind me and he didn’t have his lights on yet, but then he turned them on and I thought maybe he just wanted me to get out of the way. I was just confused.”
To justify the ticket, the police officer cited Section 439.1 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code which states “No person may, while driving a road vehicle, use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function.” This was instituted to discourage people from using their smartphone while driving, specifically to reduce the number of people texting while driving as well as talking on their phone while driving.
Macesin plans on contesting the ticket on the grounds that the Apple Watch doesn’t actually include a telephone function, but rather technology that creates a connection to a smartphone similar to a wireless Bluetooth headset. Those Bluetooth devices are permitted for use while driving, assuming the driver doesn’t handle their smartphone. Of course, it could be argued that using a smartwatch is just as dangerous as using a smartphone while driving. Both require the driver to turn their attention away from the road and briefly concentrate on a digital screen.