Texting and driving receives a lot of media attention for causing crashes, and rightly so. However, there are many other things that dangerously distract drivers on the road. One example that is gaining attention as a risk for distracted driving crashes is wearable hands-free technology like smartwatches.
Smartwatches offer on-the-go convenience and allow you to use different apps that are synced to your other devices. However, using your smartwatch while behind the wheel not only takes your focus off the road, it greatly increases the risk of a serious distracted driving crash.
If another driver causes you harm in a distracted driving crash, Jay Trucks is ready to help you seek maximum compensation for your damages. Our Flint car accident attorneys have vast experience helping injured victims, recovering millions on their behalf. Learn more about your legal options for recovering compensation in a zero-cost, no-risk case review.
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How Are Smartwatches Distracting?
Wearable technology is increasingly popular, especially as consumers seek faster, more convenient ways to use technology and their favorite apps. By far, the most popular form of wearable technology includes devices like Fitbits and Apple iWatches.
Smartwatches like Apple’s iWatch can sync to your smartphone. This allows you to text, send emails, view social media posts and receive calendar and news alerts. Other features of these devices may include:
- Playing music
- Tracking your fitness (heart rate, blood pressure, and more)
- Controlling smart home features
- Answering voicemails
- Making and receiving phone calls
- Setting alarms
- Using the stopwatch
While some of these features do not need you to touch the screen, many others do. However, even if you do not need to touch the screen, you may still need to look at it.
Taking your eyes off the road while you are driving, even for a second, could cause a serious or life-threatening collision.
Smartwatches Encourage Multitasking
The design of a smartwatch encourages multitasking. Manufacturers want people to use these devices while doing other things. Although smartwatches are trendy, consumers want them for a lot of other reasons. For instance, people want to keep up with their work emails and other notifications on the go.
Smartwatch Screens are Small
Looking at your cellphone screen while driving is not just risky, it is against the law. It distracts your focus and takes your eyes off the road, increasing the risk of a crash. Yet your cellphone screen is bigger than the screen of a smartwatch. Looking at the smaller smartwatch screen takes even more time and focus to view it than looking at a cellphone screen. In short, a smartwatch could be even more distracting than a cellphone.
Taking Your Hand Off the Steering Wheel
Drivers who wear long sleeves may not be able to see their smartwatch easily. They may have to take one hand off the steering wheel to pull back their sleeve to see the watch. Not having both hands on the wheel and looking away from the road is incredibly dangerous.
It is Tough to Resist Checking Your Watch
Similar to cellphones, users may find it hard to resist the urge to use their smartwatch while driving. Even if you turn off or mute your smartwatch before setting off, you may feel tempted to turn it back on.
Unfortunately, many drivers blatantly ignore how risky it is to look away from the road, even to “quickly” check a text or alert they received. Drivers may also believe they are used to distractions while driving and can therefore handle them without risk. Unfortunately, this creates a false sense of security.
Looking away from the road for any reason, even just for a second, is dangerous. This is especially true when traveling at high speed. Studies show that while looking away from the road at 55 miles per hour, your vehicle travels about the length of a football field. That said, drivers who look away from the road for any reason significantly increases the risk of a catastrophic or fatal crash.
For instance, say you are driving through a residential area at a slower speed limit and glance down at your smartwatch or cellphone to check a text. When you look away in that split second, a child or other pedestrian could run into the road. You would likely have no time to brake in that situation.
What Michigan Law Says About Hands-Free Technology
Michigan law allows the use of hands-free devices while driving. However, doing so raises the risk of a causing a crash, as well as serious harm to yourself and others. Moreover, if the victim can prove you were distracted and that led to the crash, you can be held liable for the damages.
The problem with smartwatches is that, unlike some hands-free technology, drivers are not just mentally distracted. That type of cognitive distraction is risky enough. However, with smartwatches, drivers still have to look away from the road to view texts, emails or other alerts.
Liability for a Distracted Driving Crash
If a driver is distracted, such as by a smartwatch, and a crash results, that driver could be liable for the damages. However, to pursue a legal claim, the victim and his or her attorney would need to prove negligence.
Proving distracted driving is challenging. It may help to have video footage of the crash as it might show the driver looking at his or her phone or smartwatch. Other evidence that could help to prove distracted driving may include:
- Cellphone/smartwatch records of the driver who caused the crash
- Data from the vehicle’s electronic tracking device
- Crash scene evidence, such as a lack of skid marks, may support distracted driving behavior
- Credible witnesses to the crash
It is important to hire an experienced attorney to investigate and prove what happened. He or she can photograph the crash scene, subpoena other evidence, such as dash cam footage and cellphone records, and build a strong case for compensation.
Even if there is video footage, you will likely need an attorney’s help to get it. An attorney knows how to obtain video footage from another driver’s dash cam or from a security or traffic camera.
Are You the Victim of a Car Crash? Call Our Trusted Law Firm
If you get injured in a crash, we strongly recommend seeking legal help. Often, a serious crash may require compensation for medical costs and damages that exceed your no-fault benefits. It is important to remember that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. Therefore, they look for ways to reduce payment to plaintiffs in an injury claim. This is just one reason why crash victims who have a qualified attorney on their side often recover significantly more compensation than those who do not.
There are no upfront costs to hire our services and no fees while we work on your case. We do not get paid for our services unless you get paid.
Jay Trucks. We Get Results. (989) 244-0440