Smartwatches, one of the latest technology gadgets to take us by storm, are helping individuals stay connected more than ever before. While many of us are enjoying the convenience of having the ability to text, read emails and surf the Internet literally in our palms, or rather, on our wrists, is this new device distracting drivers? Recent reports suggest, sadly, yes.
Wearable technology like Apple’s smartwatch has been linked to distracted driving throughout the country and globe. In fact, a road safety group in the United Kingdom, the Institute of Advanced Motorists, recently reported that smartwatches may be more dangerous than using a smartphone while driving.
Why is this? Studies report that the danger lies in where the device is placed: on your wrist. Drivers literally have to remove their hand from the steering wheel and stare into a much smaller screen compared to their smartphones. To make matters more dangerous, users end up using both hands to use their smartwatch since one hand is wearing the watch, users need to use their other hand to actually operate the device.
Safety groups also reported that drivers are more likely to become distracted by their smartwatch because it is on their wrist and always in plain view unless they take it off. Cellphones also pose these same risks, but a benefit is that drivers can place their cellphones out of reach or hide them to prevent distractions.
Cellphone use laws in Ohio
It is illegal for drivers in Ohio to text while driving and drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cellphone while behind the wheel. While there may not be a specific law banning the use of smartwatches for drivers, it is safe to assume that drivers may face similar consequences for using the smartwatch while driving since it has the same risks of texting on a cellphone.
Stay safe: Focus on the road
It is likely that smartwatches and new technology will continue to pose serious risks for everyone on the road. Having the newest technology is great for many reasons, but all of us need to remember that when we are behind the wheel, we need to focus on the road. When the stakes are so high and lives are at risk, we must ask ourselves if reading a text is really worth it?