Are Chicago Drivers at Risk of Accidents Due to Smart Watches?

May 29, 2015

Apple’s new watch is likely to transform the wearable electronic’s market in Chicago, Hyde Park, Bridgeport, Edgewater, Lincoln Park and surrounding areas, like many Apple products have transformed other technologies. While smart watches have been around for a while, Apple products often penetrate mainstream markets in a way that many other tech products don’t. As more people wear Apple watches (or other smart watch products) an experienced personal injury lawyer knows that this may be bad news when it comes to the safety of motorists on the road.

Drivers already tend to be too distracted by their phones, even though they know it is not safe to talk, text, or email when they drive. When Apple’s watch and other smart watches are on their wrist and consistently alerting them to new communications, this is likely to make the situation much worse when it comes to staying focused on the road. Fast Company recently published a comprehensive article addressing whether motorists should wear an Apple watch while driving.

The Risks of Wearing an Apple Watch While Driving

Apple’s April launch of its new watch ironically occurred during Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is a widespread effort by law enforcement officers and highway safety agencies to encourage motorists to leave their phones off while they are driving. The concern is, a smart watch is worn on the wrist and is constantly sending alerts, and the watch does not know when a motorist is behind the wheel.

Although laws prohibiting texting and driving or other distracted driving behaviors may apply to prevent motorists from looking at their smart watch, the problem is that the law does not keep pace with technology. Smart watches are not specifically addressed in concrete detail yet in anti-distracted driving laws so motorists may not be clear on exactly what their obligations are as far as their watch behind the wheel. Even if and when smart watches are prohibited for drivers, how will police ever be able to enforce laws stopping people from wearing particular watches on their wrists?

These smart watches are actually going to be a big distraction even if their use is difficult to regulate. Although watches are new enough that a lot of research has not yet been completed, the studies that have been done show that smart watches are more distracting because their proximity makes them more tempting to look at than a smart phone and because their small screen makes drivers tend to stare longer than a motorist would at a phone screen. The results of this study have led many safety experts to begin pushing for a complete ban on smart watch use in the car.

Apple sold as many as a million smart watches over just its opening week and some estimates suggest that the company is going to sell as many as 30 million watches in the first year that the product is on the market. If a significant number of these watch owners have their watches on while driving, there is likely to be a big increase in the number of crashes that are caused by drivers who are distracted.

A Chicago, IL accident attorney can help after an injury. Call Coplan & Crane at 800-394-6002 to schedule your free consultation. Serving Chicago, Hyde Park, Bridgeport, Edgewater, Lincoln Park and surrounding areas.