Many states and cities have outlawed the use of smartphones while driving. But smartwatches, like the Apple Watch, are your newest grey area. A Canadian man just became an unfortunate test case: Montreal police just stuck Jeffrey Macesin with a $120 fine for using his smartwatch while driving.
Macesin claims he was on the right side of the law because he wasn’t using watch as a phone, and yes, that's a 21st-century sentence if ever there was one. Rather, the gadget was plugged into the car’s radio and he was just changing the music while one of his hands was still on the steering wheel, he told CTV News Montreal.
The cop saw this daredevilry differently. Police say Macesin was violating Section 439.1 in Quebec’s Highway Safety Code that bans using a “hand-held device that includes a telephone function.”
To the fuzz, the Apple Watch qualifies a hand-held device (it is small!). Macesin says to talk to the wrist, cause the face ain't listening. “It’s not so much a handheld," he told CTV. "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.”
Ari Levy, a Canadian lawyer who specializes in traffic violations, sides with Macesin's case that the Apple Watch isn’t a phone. “It’s rather a Bluetooth device that communicates a telephone signal from the phone," Levy told CTV, "and it has been established in the law that you’re allowed to use Bluetooth devices and it doesn’t constitute an infraction.”
Google Glass had similar troubles when it hit the open road last year. California banned devices that displayed video in front of a driver’s face to prevent them from watching television while driving, outlawing Glass in the process. Glassholes threw their wheatgrass smoothies at their Telas in disgust before retorting that the high-tech goggles are safe to use because they're voice-controlled project images only to the side of a person’s eye.
Macesin is fighting the Apple Watch fine and has hired a lawyer. Which seems like overkill, for a $120 ticket, but maybe he's hoping for a slap on the wrist.