Canadian driver fined $120 for using Apple Watch behind the wheel

Canadian driver fined $120 for using Apple Watch behind the wheel
Driving while using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet is, in most places, illegal. In areas that it hasn't been outlawed, it's still dangerous, and such distractions have been known to cause many an avoidable fatality on the road. The smartwatch era is now well under way, and while checking a traditional timepiece isn't likely to score you a ticket from a passing cop, where does that leave the use of a device like the Apple Watch when behind the wheel? As one Canadian driver has discovered, it can lead to a $120 fine. 

Speaking with CTV News, Jeffrey Macesin said he was pulled over by Quebec police for using his Apple Watch to skip through songs. His connected iPhone, meanwhile, was nestled away in his bag, but this didn't exempt him from a fine for violation of section 439.1 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code.

The code states that "no person may, while driving a road vehicle, use a handheld device that includes a telephone function." One could argue that while the Apple Watch is able to make and receive calls -- at least, it can when a connected iPhone is within its vicinity --  it's not a handheld device. The fact that it's not technically handheld is a debate that Macesin is fighting as he contests the $120 fine, which has also scored him four points on his license. 

Meanwhile, lawyer Avi Levy considers the Apple Watch a Bluetooth device as opposed to a phone. Bluetooth devices are permitted to be used while driving in Quebec, after all, so it appears that Macesin has a case. The lawyer, who specializes in traffic-focused cases, said:

The outcome of this case could have a significant impact on whether the use of smartwatches while driving will, going forward, be seen as an offence. At the moment, it's a bit of a gray area, and one suspects that the laws of most countries, including Canada, will need to be better clarified as wearables become more popular.

source: CTVNews via The Verge



20. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I a curious to know, if his device had a black bend, would he have been pulled over? Could it be that the kiddish loud color band actually drew the cops attention to it s not being a regular watch? Because watches typically have leather, plastic or metal bands, but most don't use loud colors. The loud color like made the cop spot something he likely wouldn't have otherwise. After all, from a distance of more than 5 feet, how could the cop tell it was an Apple Watch? This one case is going to spoil these types of devices for everyone, because people with gadgets have o control over themselves as far as when to use them. The article says he was changing his music on his phone. Question. Where was the audio of the phone playing. Was it playing through his speakers in his car? if so that means it must be attached to the car stereo via Bluetooth. In this case, Bluetooth devices have simple controls available in said car stereo. Why couldnt his dumb A$$ not just change the music the same way he always has? No, instead he had to justify playing with his overpriced toy to use a function that worked perfectly how ever he was doing it before. I am not being critical because he was playing with his toy while driving, because I would ten be a hypocrite because I play with mine too. But, it was what he was doing with it that was dumb. He could have used the controls on the stereo or simply had the phone in the cup holder and easily changed his music. with a couple quick glances vs playing with a device that has a screen the size of a nickel which likely made it take longer and thus he got busted.

15. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

They are thinking of forbidding smartwatches in my country too. And to be honest, just a glimpse is not dangerous, but to fully use its features is.

17. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

What features? They don't really have any features. Th problem with the Apple Watch I see is siz. Its so small and you have to use the stupid control knob. basically this takes both hands off the wheel and your eyes of the road. What I am curious of is, f he was moving at the time. If he was sitting in traffic at a light or on the highway, who is he going to hurt sitting still? NO ONE. I use my phone in the car and my Gear S. It is by law a Bluetooth speaker just like what is on my ear even though it does offer a phone function apart from the phone. Again the cop had to have been desperate to pull him for operating a watch. Suppose after he pulled him over it was just a regular watch and not a smart one. Think about the issue here. The issue is its a watch...PERIOD. Yes it has other functions but so what. It s not my definition and "handheld" device. To use its features is equal to using a phone and yes it can be dangerous. But here is a fact, MILLIONS of people use their phones while driving and have never gotten into an accident. Just lie millions eat while driving and have never had an accident. The problem is mostly ignorant people who try to constantly use their devices while driving and cause accidents because they change lanes, or drive slower than moving traffic and also not paying attention to traffic signs and lights. Those are the fools. You cant write a law for safe usage while driving because there will be those who will abuse it and cause accidents, so thus you have to band all usage. But this case is a reach at best

18. BobbyBuster

Posts: 854; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

tl; dr; keep barking.

19. ARTE.8800.

Posts: 192; Member since: May 27, 2015

He yet again shut you up. Keep being in denial. Keep trolling Jakelee.

21. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

I'm talking about smartwatches in general. And about features like reading entire messages, sending winks, sending doodles, heartbeats, reading recipes, checking your bankaccount,watching pictures, etc. While I have a smartwatch myself, I rarely use it in the car, since I need to have my eyes on the road as much as possible in most conditions.

14. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Unless you have a Gear S, none of the smart watches are phones, they are as the lawyer said "Bluetooth" devices. Seems like the cop was desperate to write a ticket and let you and the Judge hash it out. His lawyer costs more than the ticket. Also, how does he have points before the ticket is even finalized? You're not suppose to get points on your license unless you are actually guilty of said infraction. You know, innocent until proven guilty or is that only in the USA. Seems like this is the reverse, you are guilty until you arte found innocent.

12. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

This guy is an idiot and should have to pay the $120 fine. The apple watch might not be a hand held device but one could argue that it is because it has the same purpose/functions as a smartphone (hand held device) and requires the driver to take one hand off the wheel and look at the watch in order to use it. Bluetooth earpiece is different because you can drive safely while using one. Using a smartwatch behind the wheel has the same safety hazards as using a phone.

16. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Yes it is just as dangerous. However, the way the law is written now, smartwatches are not phones, they are not capable of making calls without your phone 90 (most of them). The penalty must completely fi the crime. The lawyer has the write argument. This case could make them rewrite the law, but you can't penalize a person for a law that doesn't exist yet.

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 31798; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Must take a keen eye to notice that.

10. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

Easy win. AW is not a hand-held device. So they will have to update the law in Canada. This is ridiculous.

9. SamDH1

Posts: 419; Member since: Apr 21, 2015

If he was using his watch to skip through songs, that means he was looking at the watch, cuz you gotta look at which button you are tapping on the screen, perhaps even not holding the wheel correctly due to the angle of looking at the screen. I put my Wears on cinema mode whenever I drive just in case the police see a glow by my hands, buuuut when I do skip songs from Wear while driving, I have to move both hands. I'd say it's a fine that will probably stick, it's a distraction of the drivers attention.

5. Galaxy_Apple

Posts: 129; Member since: May 24, 2015

actually it's even more dangerous to be using a phone I was actually involved in a accident with someone idiot using a smartphone while driving , lets just say no major injuries but evveryone involved learnt important lessons, we definitely need better tech in cars to prevent smartphone usage , smart watches are even worse though. but recieving calls/ using voice assistant to reply on a smart watch seems smarter than using phones though. on a sidetone are people actually buying Apple watched in canada ? on my last visit I was shocked at the prices. the watch is incredibly overpriced ,it's ridiculous

3. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Pretty sure that if your hand are not on the wheel, one hand busy with the watch, then yes, it is a potential hazard, I seriously doubt they are going to fine you for glancing at it. Driver was probably not paying attention to the road, one hand off wheel, police noticed police fined.

4. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

They should update their laws cause its retarded

22. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Well I suppose it could be cleared so that any device removes drivers attention and/or hands from driving would qualify, though that kinda is what it implies already, and people know this, people know why it isn't smart to have your attention distracted while driving. Wanting it written down word for word before you adhere to it shouldn't really be needed.

2. SuperAndroid507

Posts: 361; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

That case is in the bag for the lawyer

1. BobbyBuster

Posts: 854; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

Waiting for MuricanParrot.....

6. sgodsell

Posts: 7662; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

If he would have had a faster smart watch he might not have been caught. He was caught because he was waiting around for the data to update on his watch. Dam laggy 3rd party Apple watch apps.


Posts: 2818; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Haha you nailed it! Apple watch truly sucks!

13. waddup121 unregistered

lmao okay


Posts: 1; Member since: May 28, 2015

This is bogus, eh? They should fer sure fine hosers who don't wear Apple watches. The Mountie that gave this guy a ticket must be an Android keener, eh?

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