University student gets $400 fine for driving while using her Apple Watch

University student gets $400 fine for driving while using her Apple Watch
Canada has some pretty tough laws against distracted driving as University of Guelph student Victoria Ambrose found out the other day. According to Ms. Ambrose, she was using her Apple Watch to check the time when an officer pulled her over. The cop says that he saw a small glow inside the car, and watched her look down four times. In addition, the policeman said that when the traffic light that she had stopped for turned green, Ambrose failed to drive forward until he shone a light into her car.

The lawyer representing Ambrose said that the distracted driving law, which was amended in 2009 because of the growing use of mobile phones, did not apply in this case because it requires someone to tap a mobile device to activate the screen, and tap again to deactivate it. In additional, the attorney pointed out that the timepiece was not connected to a communication device. The defense also argued that because the smartwatch was worn on the defendant's wrist, it met the qualifications to be considered a hands-free device that was securely mounted in the car.

All of the arguments brought forth by the defense were rejected by the Justice of the Peace who was hearing the case. Lloyd Philipps ruled that the Apple Watch is still a communications device and even if it is securely fastened on a user's wrist, it still is as much a distraction as a cellphone taped to a person's wrist.


Ambrose was fined $400. Afterward, her attorney said that the law needs to be more specific about what can and cannot be done when using new technology behind the wheel.

source: RCI

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25 Comments

1. Tipus

Posts: 847; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

Good.. same as using your phone while driving. Can't stand these kind of drivers

5. BL4NKF4CE

Posts: 127; Member since: Aug 06, 2017

How is it any different from using a vehicle's own display to change music, use nav, make a call or read a text (Android Auto/CarPlay/Bluetooth)? Are built in Navigation Systems and car stereos to be banned too?

19. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Because changing music or have a text readout or using nav doesn't take away your focus on the road for a few seconds. Pressing next is completely different from reading a message on your screen for several seconds. Of course, this doesn't mean things like browsing through a playlist or typing in the address in your nav. These things are just as distracting. In my country, they have a law that they can fine you (or even worse put you in jail) if your behaviour in the car leads to dangerous driving (like swerving on the road). Women putting on makeup during driving, eating behind the wheel, etc. In this woman's case, she wouldn't be fined though, since over here it's completely legal to use your phone (or watch) when you stand still in traffic or in front of a traffic light. They don't consider that dangerous driving.

14. Phullofphil

Posts: 1762; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

No different then checking your watch but even so to prevent people to using this thing it’s probably perfect she was guilty but I think fine was to high

2. Zappo

Posts: 9; Member since: Oct 04, 2016

Yes. And it's ridiculous to state only having checked the time when you've been caught looking at your watch four times... And also you need to operate the watch to read the time, don't you?

6. Soundjudgment

Posts: 370; Member since: Oct 10, 2016

No. You don’t have to tap it to wake it up to see the time display.

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I control the Bluetooth music in my Vette from my series 3 all the time. Be careful, popo is watching.

12. iPhoneFanboy

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 21, 2018

what year

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

2017 Z51 3LT

16. iPhoneFanboy

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 21, 2018

Very nice. I got myself a 2016 GT350 but I want to trade in for a C7. You have a monster of a car to enjoy!

22. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Thanx, appreciate it. You do as well.

4. BuffaloSouce unregistered

The attorney needs to get caught up on today’s tech. I don’t need to tap on my iPhone to wake it up, I just pick up and having a FPS doesn’t count as tapping the screen either. Same thing applies to the Apple Watch, you don’t have to tap it to wake it up. It also doesn’t help the case that the driver was oblivious to the light being green.

10. jonathanfiuwx

Posts: 179; Member since: Mar 10, 2017

Great, I hope she winds but also I hope someone doesn't turn the law on this too

18. GreenMan

Posts: 2697; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

She had it coming her way, plain and simple. I quote: "The cop says that he saw a small glow inside the car, and watched her look down four times. In addition, the policeman said that when the traffic light that she had stopped for turned green, Ambrose failed to drive forward until he shone a light into her car." She deserve to pay every single penny. And $400 CAD seems reasonable. I'd have fined $1,000 USD not CAD but that's just me; The ol' cruel GreenMan! You've no idea how big of a threat these distracted drivers pose to motorcyclists like me. Distracted drivers = Dead riders. And then there are American 'death traps' on the roads like Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes, Vipers and Challengers which handle like a boat... Titanic, even. Too much HP paired with a RWD chassis that's only suitable for trucks... Now put a cocky teenager on the driver's seat and you've yourself a bloody Widow Maker. Americans, eh? G'Day!

23. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Any car is a death trap in the wrong hands dude. This also took place in Canada.

25. Brewski

Posts: 671; Member since: Jun 05, 2012

"You've no idea how big of a threat these distracted drivers pose to motorcyclists like me. Distracted drivers = Dead riders." I agree. Whenever I ride and I see someone on their phone I always call them out on it. Cops here are lazy about fining people on their phone while driving but on a bike you can see a lot more.

21. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

"Afterward, her attorney said that the law needs to be more specific about what can and cannot be done when using new technology behind the wheel" It's such a shame people need rules and laws to determine for them what you can do behind the wheel. Normally you would need common sense.

24. KickRocks

Posts: 270; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Distracted drivers SUCK!!! I don't do it, no call or text is worth your life or the life of others

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