Thursday, December 10, 2015

Smartwatches Can Lead To Crashes

Smartwatch could lead to car accidents due to distracted driving
According to the official government website for distracted driving,1 this dangerous practice caused an estimated 424,000 injuries and 3,154 in only one year in the United States. One of the most dangerous and most commonly practiced forms of distracted driving is using a smartphone while behind the wheel. In this day and age, many individuals feel the need to be constantly connected to work, social media networks, and others, even while driving. Drivers may engage in many different types of activities using a smartphone including texting, emailing, searching for information on the Internet, browsing social media, looking up directions, and more. All of the activities result in cognitive, visual, and manual distractions and, therefore, using a smartphone is considered to be one of the most dangerous distracted driving activities.

Because of the risks of texting and other uses of a smartphone, Florida has a law2 that bans the following uses of smartphones for all drivers: “manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging.” This means that drivers can potentially receive a traffic citation if law enforcement officers believe they were wrongfully using a smartphone.

Do smartwatches encourage distracted driving?
A relatively new trend in mobile technology is the smartwatch, which looks like a regular wristwatch, but has many of the capabilities of a smartphone. These watches connect to your phone via Bluetooth and allow you to use many of the functions of your phone without actually holding your phone. For example, smartwatch owners can engage in the following activities on their watches:

·         Accept or reject calls
·         Play music
·         Receive social media, news, and other updates from apps
·         Read emails, calendar reminders, and incoming text messages
·         Read GPS directions

Smartwatch manufacturers often tout that these devices are safer than smartphones while driving because they can be “hands-free.” However, in order to read notifications, emails, texts, and other updates, a driver will still have to look away from the road and at their wrist. Some smartwatch users hold their wrist up in front of their faces so they can try to look at both the watch and the road at the same time. This, however, not only still causes a visual distraction (as they are not actually focusing on the road while reading) but also a manual distraction because they must remove their hand from the wheel. Overall, smartwatches can be just as risky as using a handheld smartphone.

However, because they are not necessarily typing into the watch, looking at a smartwatch is not covered under prohibited activities under Florida law. These devices then may be tempting to use instead of smartphones because there is not a risk of receiving a ticket for using a handheld device. This means that more people may be tempted to drive while distracted and, if a driver using a smartwatch causes a distracted driving accident, they should be held liable for any losses sustained by crash victims.

Discuss your legal options with a skilled Clearwater distracted driving lawyer

Any driver who engages in any type of distracted driving and causes injuries in a crash should be held fully accountable for their negligent actions. Victims of distracted drivers face many serious losses, including the costs of medical care, income lost from time off work to recover, physical suffering and pain, emotional issues, and sometimes permanent impairments, disabilities, or disfigurement. These victims do not have to face these losses alone, as the experienced distracted driving attorneys of the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, FL are here to help.

Our legal team understands what types of investigation and evidence are needed in distracted driving cases and will always strive to maximize the recovery you receive for your losses. We offer free consultations and never collect a fee unless you are able to recover. To start a case evaluation, please call 727-451-6900 or use our online contact form today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756


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