An Apple Watch user found out the hard way that in Canada it is illegal to use the Watch while driving. Jeffrey Macesin said he was pulled over by the police, got a fine and four points on his license for skipping tracks.
Macesin was “shocked” to learn that casually using a smartwatch behind the wheel had hefty consequences. He knew that only smartphone use while driving was a Highway Safety Code offense. But the Surete du Quebec had another opinion.
The police slapped the driver with a $120 ticket and four points on his driving license because he was wearing an Apple Watch while driving. Macesin said that that was shocking news since he had no idea he was breaking the law.
He argued that all his gadget lover buddies thought that wearing a smartwatch behind the wheel was no misdemeanor under the Canadian law as long as they were not tapping away on the device.
Macesin says that he had his smartphone in his backpack charging. The phone was also connected to the radio via an auxiliary cable, while the driver used Apple Watch to skip songs, but his hands were on the steering wheel.
The driver just left Pincourt, a small Canadian town located on the Montreal island, and was heading to Terrasse-Vaudreuil on the Highway 20 when he was pulled over.
He noted that he saw a police car behind him but it had the lights off. Suddenly, the police officer turned the lights on. The young man thought that he was being politely asked to get out of the way.
But when the police prompted him to pull the car over he was plunged into confusion. After confusion, there was the shock of being fined for wearing a smartwatch. The police officer said the ticket was issued for an offense under the Canadian highway safety laws.
To be more specific, Macesin was ticketed under Section 439.1 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code which specifically prohibits the “use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function” while driving a vehicle on public roads.
The driver said that he was neither using or “holding” a device with telephone function.
“It’s not so much handheld. It’s a watch. You know, it’s on my wrist. That’s where it gets controversial. It’s like, ‘Is it? Is it not?’ but I think this needs to be talked about,”
Law experts think that Quebec Highway Safety Code leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Some of them think that Apple Watch is not a real phone but a “Bluetooth device” which is connected to a phone. And Bluetooth device use while driving is not strictly prohibited by the Canadian laws, they argue
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