Smartwatches have the ability to send texts, find directions, look for the nearest restaurant and even switch songs on your phone with little work, but should they be banned when driving on the roads?

In many countries around the world, driving while on your phone is illegal and can sometimes land you with a hefty fine and points on your driving license; however, with the introduction of smartwatches giving users the ability to do smartphone tasks, is it legal to use them while out on the road?

Well, quite recently, Jeffrey Macesin, a man living in Quebec, Canada, received a $120 (approximately £78) fine and four points on his license after being seen changing songs using the new Apple Watch.  Macesin stated that “I have it in my bag charging while the auxiliary cable is plugged into the radio… so I was changing songs with my hand on the steering wheel.”

He followed by saying “there was a cop car behind me and he didn’t have his lights on yet… then he turned them on and I thought maybe he just wanted me to get out of the way.”

According to the Quebec Highway Safety Code, it states that “no person may, while driving a road vehicle, use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function,” which resulted in Macesin being prosecuted under Section 439.1 of said code.

Does this seem like a reasonable outcome? Can a smartwatch be classed as a hand-held device, even though it is usually worn on your wrist? A hand-held device can often be referred as having a display screen with touch input and/or a miniature keyboard and weighing less than 2 pounds, approximately 0.91kg. Unfortunately, it sounds like a smartwatch falls under the hand-held category, even if you never hold it in your hands…

Most smartwatches have some kind of voice recognition integrated in the device, allowing users to simply say commands and causing the watch to do some specific tasks. It is not always necessary to be touching your watch to change a song or to send a text to someone; therefore, should there be a new law specifically for the latest pieces of technology? Is it right that a smartwatch can fall under the category of being a hand-held device?

Although this case was based in Canada, there have been multiple instances elsewhere when someone has been pulled over for apparently using a smart device while driving. As technology is constantly advancing, should the laws be changing too?

Do you own a smart device? Do you use a smart device while driving or doing other day-to-day tasks? Tweet @TechFlyOfficial, as we’d like to hear your thoughts and views.

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Dominic Joseph McLaughlin - Web Developer & Editorial Administrator.

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