Drivers warned over smartwatch use in cars

Smartwatch Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Using a smartwatch could distract drivers

Motorists are being warned about the dangers of using a smartwatch while driving.

Accidents caused by drivers distracted by the devices would result in severe penalties, a Department for Transport (DfT) spokesman said.

"If records show you were texting from said watch," the spokesman said, "you've given police enough material to be able to charge you."

He added: "We are considering a number of further options to deter drivers."

Smartwatches are covered by existing laws designed to stop people checking gadgets while on the move.

"Using a mobile phone or any device that distracts a driver whilst driving is extremely dangerous and is already illegal," the DfT said.

"We increased the fine to £100 last August for using a mobile phone whilst driving."

'Responsible message'

Handheld use of a mobile phone at all while driving, whether there's an accident or not, is punishable by an on-the-spot fine and three points added to a licence.

Use of a smartwatch while driving is not banned outright - but improper use could result in charges for

  • dangerous driving
  • careless and inconsiderate driving
  • failure to be in proper control of the vehicle
  • driving without due care and attention

Motoring groups have called for manufacturers to play a role in raising safety awareness.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, the Institute of Advanced Motorists said: "It's possible that manufacturers might think it's not their responsibility to warn drivers about the dangers, but they need to be pushing the responsible message too.

"Enjoy this equipment too, but use it in the right place at the right time."

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