Do Smartwatches Distract Drivers?

June 9, 2021

Distracted driving ranks among the newest and deadliest of all driver behaviors. While motorists generally understand the dangers of cellphone use while driving, experts are now seeing more distracted driving cases tied to smartwatches. While technology is beneficial for drivers, it also can cause unintended car accidents, injuries, and road-related deaths. Distracted driving caused 3,142 deaths on U.S. roadways in 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported.

Something as simple as responding to a text message while driving takes the driver’s eyes off of the road for an average of five seconds. When traveling at 55 miles per hour, a vehicle can cover the same distance as a football field in five seconds. Leaving one’s eyes off of the road for that long becomes a potentially deadly endeavor. Smartwatches have smaller screens than cellphones, so the potential for distraction is even greater.

Smartwatches Increase Danger Levels

A smartwatch is piece of wearable technology that owners strap on like a wristwatch, but it does far more than tell the time. Depending on the included technology, a smartwatch functions more like a cellphone or tablet device that launches apps and provides an array of information.

Smartwatches have been around for about a decade and are reaching more consumers with lower prices and better products in far greater numbers. That trend likely will continue, and smartwatches now are causing more problems than cellphones.

Many smartwatches provide a range of standard features that easily distract drivers who wear them. Those potentially distracting features include:

  • Notifications about events and activities.
  • Managing onboard media.
  • Responding to messages via voice dictation.
  • Satellite tracking and fitness apps.

Notifications about events and activities can be especially distracting, but for good intentions. Many smartwatches include a feature that detects the wearer’s general level of activity. If the wearer sits for a period of time, like when driving a car, the smartwatch might malfunction. A smartwatch could send bothersome notifications requiring the wearer to respond while driving or risk having the smartwatch alert local authorities about an emergency that does not exist.

A lot of smartwatches also work like an onboard touchscreen display with controls for streaming music, videos, and other digital entertainment. When drivers use their smartwatches to control onboard entertainment, their eyes leave the roadway during an obvious act of distracted driving. Smartwatches could distract drivers in many ways, which is dangerous.

Delaware County Personal Injury Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Victims of Distracted Driving Car Accidents

Smartwatches can be beneficial, but they can also cause car accidents if they are used while driving. If you were in an accident that was caused by a distracted driver, the experienced Delaware County personal injury lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. can help you build the best possible case. Contact us online or call us at 610-565-3701 to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.