Man fined for using Apple Watch while driving
Published 01/06/2015 | 12:14
A man has been fined for using his Apple Watch while driving, in what is believed to be the first case of its kind since the smartwatch was released last month.
Jeffrey Macesin, from Pincourt, Quebec, in Canada, was given a $120 (£63) penalty and four points on his licence after police spotted him using the gadget to change a song that was playing on his iPhone.
“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," he told CTV Montreal. "So I was changing songs with my hand on the steering wheel."
"Going towards Vaudreuil [a city west of Montreal], 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. I was just confused.”
Mr Macesin, who got his Apple Watch on April 24, the day it launched, was prosecuted under Section 439.1 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code, which states that "no person may, while driving a road vehicle, use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function".
He is appealing against the fine and penalty points because his device was on his wrist and not in his hand.
“It's not so much handheld. It's a watch. 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."
It's not the time a wearable gadget has landed a driver in trouble. In October 2013, 44-year-old Cecilia Abadie was stopped by police and fined while wearing the Google Glass headset.
The officer initially pulled her over in San Diego for speeding but then issued an additional citation for "driving with monitor visible to driver", which carries a mandatory minimum fine of $162.
According to the California Vehicle Code, motorists are not allowed to drive while a "television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal" is operating at a point further forward than the back of the driver's seat.
Google Glass lightweight frames are equipped with a hidden camera and tiny display that responds to voice commands. The technology can be used to do things such as check emails, learn about something the wearer is looking at, or get driving directions.
A traffic court later threw out the case because the officer could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Google Glass device was switched on when Ms Abadie was stopped.
The judge also threw out the officer's documentation of her speed and found Ms Abadie not guilty of that count.
The Apple Watch could become Apple's most profitable product line ever, with gross margins exceeding 60pc, one market analyst has predicted.
The first run of the watch reportedly sold out within hours, but the company has not revealed how many have been sold. Market researcher Carl Howe, from Think Big Analytics, predicts that the initial run of watches was more than 3m units, handing Apple Watch revenues of more than $2bn in the first two weeks of going on sale.