In fact it will be 2015 before the consumer gets to have Apple wrist attire, by which time the market for wearables and particularly smartwatches will be quite competitive. So with mobile use at the wheel currently a very bad thing, will the drive for smart-technology on our wrists mean taking that call or checking that text whilst driving could become possible?
In all honesty, no. Whilst wearing a watch you can tip quickly and glance at is better than wrestling with one of the ever growing family of smartphones that may threaten to slip from your grip with one hand on the steering wheel, it is still a distraction that is not only dangerous but likely against the law too. Indeed the Department of Transport have already come out and said they intend to treat the smart watch along the same lines as mobile phones.
Yes the new Apple Watch will offer maps with turn-by-turn directions built in, but using it as a sat-nav tool as a driver in a car is likely to get you in hot water, if not into an accident. Even wearing the watch may be too much of a distraction with vibrations on alerts and so on, so if you are a trendsetter who gets a smartwatch it would do you good to lock it in your glovebox – as you may already do with your smartphone.
Why? Well, in the USA the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a very comprehensive survey that revealed 80% of accidents and 16% of road deaths are the result of driver distraction either directly or indirectly. In most cases without that distraction the accident would have been prevented, clearly pointing to a need to focus only on the road when behind the wheel of the powerful machine we call the motor car.
Even using your sat-nav whilst driving can risk a charge of driving without due care and attention, so concentration on a tiny screen located on your wrist risks that and much more.
It’s true that the Apple Watch is likely to pave the way for new ways of linking technology with our cars, with products already out there for screens in your dashboard that mimic various functions of your smart devices; but the clear lead must be safety and keeping our roads as safe as possible.