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New Smart Watches are a Potential Driving Hazard

Posted in: Road Traffic Accidents 

Drivers have recently been warned about the potential risks associated with wearing smart watches while driving.

The latest piece of wearable technology from Apple will allow users to make and receive calls, check their messages and monitor their health by operating the device on their wrists. However, road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), is concerned that this could significantly impair driving performance and be a major cause of distractions, leading to more road traffic accidents.

Existing research conducted by the IAM simulator study on smartphone use between 2006 and 2010 found distraction from a mobile phone was a contributory factor in 1,960 road accidents which resulted in injuries; this figure includes 110 fatal accidents.

Having a wristwatch linked to users’ mobile phone only suggests a higher proportion of drivers’ performance will be significantly impaired.

Constant alerts will demand motorists’ regular attention. As opposed to using a legal hands-free piece of equipment the iWatch will require drivers to use two hands to operate the device – impacting speed, lane position and time spent looking at the road.

An iWatch has the potential to be just as distracting as any other smartphone device,” commented Neil Greig, IAM Director of Policy and Research. “Indeed more so if you have to take your hand off the wheel and your eyes off the road to interact with it.

Enforcement will be difficult for the police, but powers exist to seize and interrogate devices in the event of a serious crash,” he added. “The very device that distracted you also has the power to convict you.

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