Canadian motorist receives fine for looking at Apple Watch while driving

An Apple Watch user in Canada has received a $400 fine under the province of Ontario’s distracted driving laws for looking at her Apple Watch while driving, GuelphToday reports. Victoria Ambrose, a student at the University of Guelph, was stopped a red light in April when a campus police officer pulled up alongside her and noticed her looking up and down at a device several times. Ambrose also reportedly failed to notice the traffic light turning green, and didn’t proceed until the officer shone his cruiser side light into her car to get her attention. The officer subsequently pulled her over and charged her with driving while holding a hand-held communications device.
Ambrose challenged the ticket in court, maintaining that the Apple Watch should not be considered a “hand-held device,” however Justice of the Peace Lloyd Phillipps disagreed, noting in his ruling that “Despite the Apple watch being smaller than a cellular phone, on the evidence it is a communication device capable of receiving and transmitting electronic data” and adding that “while attached to the defendant’s wrist it is no less a source of distraction than a cell phone taped to someone’s wrist. It requires the driver to change their body position and operate it by touch.” Phillipps also emphasized that the real issue in question was that “Ms. Ambrose was distracted when the officer made his observations” and that “it is the holding, or use of the device that the court must determine.” In response to Ambrose’s argument that she was merely checking the time, which according to her required that she touch the screen to activate and deactivate, Philipps ruling suggested that she could have simply used “the clock in her automobile.” [via iPhone in Canada]

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