Could the Apple Watch Increase Distracted Driving Rates?
On April 24, the much anticipated Apple Watch officially launched. This latest technological advent from the innovative company that brought the world the iPod, iPad and iPhone was met with enthusiasm and a great deal of sales. The watch performs a number of impressive functions, including answering calls as well as sending texts and emails from the wrist. It also has additional features such as monitoring blood sugar and encouraging exercise. Anticipated to be a growing trend in the future, the watch will likely become a part of life for many people, but some researchers are questioning its potential implications regarding distracted driving.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, fourteen states in addition to the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico currently have some type of primary ban on the use of handheld devices while driving. Many other states have bans on texting while driving, including more restrictive bans on novice or bus drivers. Georgia, for instance, does not ban the use of cell phones but does ban texting and cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.
The Apple Watch is still in its early days but already raises some interesting issues as to distracted driving. The watch will vibrate or beep when it receives a text message or alert. It is on the user's wrist, requiring that the a person use his or her hands to check messages. This renders drivers essentially one-handed as they attempt to retrieve messages on the small device. The watch could prove to be more distracting than cell phones because it is always present on the wrist and likely will not be stowed away as could be cell phones.
The watch could present additionally legality issues. It is not clear as of yet whether users of Apple Watches will be considered to be violating any laws. Laws today were intended to apply to cell phones and the narrow language might not translate to devices like the Apple Watch or the slew of other technologies that are to potentially follow in the future.
It is anticipated that the Apple Watch will be purchased by millions of consumers in just the first year alone. If it proves as distracting as initial research believes it to be, distracted driving accidents could be on the rise. Anyone injured in an accident caused by another person or party should consult with an attorney as soon as possible in order to preserve important evidence.
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