Canadian Man Receives $120 Ticket For Operating Apple Watch While Driving

Distracted driving is a growing and dangerous problem that's receiving more awareness these days, and while smartphones top of the list of things that divert people's attention from the road, wearable devices can be just as risky. They're certainly subject to the same fines -- just ask Jeffery Macesin, a Canadian Apple Watch owner who received a $120 ticket and four points on his license for using his wearable while driving.

Call me a curmudgeon, but I have no sympathy for Macesin, especially since he sees nothing wrong with what he was doing. Macesin said he was surprised to be pulled over and ticketed, as in his opinion, he wasn't breaking any laws.

"I have it in the bag charging while the auxiliary cable is plugged in to the radio and this controls my phone to play the music. So I was changing songs with my hand on the steering wheel," Macesin said.

Apple Watch Driving

Macesin's citation was for violating Section 439.1 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code that prohibits using a "handheld device that includes a telephone function."

"It's not so much handheld. It's a watch," Macesin says. "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."

Macesin is contesting his ticket, and quite frankly, I hope he loses on this one. The precedent that it's okay to divert your attention to a smartwatch is, in my opinion, a dangerous one that shouldn't be set, whether it's in Canada, the United States, or wherever.

Here's the thing -- as part of a recent study that examined crash videos of teen drivers, it was found that distracted driving is a much bigger epidemic than previously thought. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe accidents, which is about four times as many as previously though based on information plucked from police records. Let that digest for a moment.

The study looked at the six seconds leading up to a crash in nearly 1,700 videos of teen drivers who had in-vehicle cameras. Distraction was a factor in 58 percent -- otherwise known as a majority -- of those crashes, with cell phone use the second biggest culprit (interacting with others in the car was No. 1).

Let's not play with technicalities here -- smartwatches are essentially extensions of smartphones. Regardless, I'm of the opinion that a driver's eyes should be fixated on the road, and not mobile electronics.

What do you think -- am I right in thinking that Macesin and similar cases deserve no sympathy, or do you believe that citing drivers to interacting with smartwatches is an overreaction?