Are Smartwatches the Next Driving Hazard?
The large majority of states ban texting1 or any other type of text-based messaging for all drivers. Georgia has had a texting ban2 in place since 2010, as well as a ban on any type of cell phone use for novice drivers. Despite these laws, however, many drivers continue to engage in dangerous behaviors such as texting while they are behind the wheel.
Even if a driver abides by the cell phone and/or texting bans, more technological distractions come out on the market on a regular basis. One recent device that has been growing in popularity and that could cause serious driving distractions is the smartwatch. Offered by many different companies, these watches connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth technology. Once connected, the phone can give you alerts and notifications and allows you to program a GPS, play games, or use other apps.
Smartwatches can lead to accidents
Smartwatches can take a driver’s eyes off the road, their focus off of driving, and one or both of their hands off the wheel. Simply because the driver is looking at their wrist instead of at a handheld device does not make using a smartwatch any less distracting and can cause serious collisions, including head-on and rear-end collisions. These collisions can lead to serious injuries to all motorists involved.
It will be interesting to see whether Georgia and other states will eventually add smartwatches to the list of devices considered illegal to use while driving. While this may take a few years to come to pass, it is important to remember that whether or not smartwatches will be addressed and included in the texting ban, even lawful behavior can be negligent. If a driver causes a collision because they were looking at their smartwatch or using apps on a watch, they can be held fully responsible for any injury-related losses that result from the collision.
Our Alpharetta Auto Accident Attorneys Have Seen A Significant Rise In Distracted Driving Injury Cases
While we certainly are sensitive to over involvement of government in the lives of citizens, the fact of the matter is that we are seeing a large increase in distracted driving related car accident cases into our office. For example, earlier this year we resolved a car accident case involving the death of our client from a head-on collision. The at-fault driver was programming her GPS unit at the time she drifted into our client’s lane striking his vehicle at over 50 mph. The GPS unit was found by the first responders on her lap.
Distracting driving caused by the use of all sorts of devices while driving is a serious issue that is costing lives in Georgia. We need to continue to do everything we can to discourage this practice.