We live in the era of smart technology and it seems as if everything from regular household items, such as refrigerators, to personal items, such as watches, are now technologically driven. Techno junkies in Tennessee are joining everyone else in chasing after the newest fad, but are these always the safest and best option? Many people are questioning the safety of using a smartwatch while driving and the extent to which it can distract a driver, thus leading to car accidents.
A smartwatch is seen as a hands-free device, but when you think of the way a watch is worn it is obvious that your hand is needed to see what is on the screen. So, it is actually quite the opposite. You may not need to look at or touch the screen of the watch for a message to appear, but to read the message you have to take your hand of the steering wheel to see what is happening on the screen while focusing on a tiny bright screen. All of this actually makes driving while using a smartwatch a potential recipe for disaster.
There is little doubt that a smartwatch can be considered a bigger distraction than a smartphone. Many people are quite capable of operating their smartphones with one hand, but it is impossible with a smartwatch. It is also difficult to ignore something that beeps, vibrates or blinks on your arm, while a phone can be placed somewhere it cannot be seen.
While no Tennessee legislation may be in place specifically banning the use of a smartwatch while driving, laws regulating distracted driving and hand-free devices will certainly be applicable. In a fatal accident where driver distraction was a contributing factor, the legal estate of the victim may choose to file a wrongful death claim against the driver deemed negligent, while a seriously injured victim may elect to file a personal injury claim after surviving a crash. Successfully litigated claims may assist the families of the deceased or the injured victims to meet unexpected expenses and other quantifiable financial losses arising from the car accidents.
Source: blogs.findlaw.com, “Smartwatches and Distracted Driving Laws“, George Khoury, Accessed on Oct.01, 2016