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Are Smartwatches More Distracting Than Cellphones?

July 21, 2021

It is estimated that more than 73 million Americans will be using wearable technologies by 2022, according to a report by eMarketer. These are smart devices that can be worn on different parts of the body, the most popular type being the smartwatch. The increasing popularity of these technologies is important when looking at the risks. Typically, when someone thinks about distracted driving, texting is the first action that comes to mind. However, there are many types of driver distractions, and a smartwatch can certainly play a role in a car accident.

Distracted driving predates personal electronic devices, however, there is no denying that advanced technology has significantly contributed to the problem. As smartwatches become more common, the risks of drivers becoming distracted beyond the wheel increase even more. Smartwatches do not function exactly the same as cellphones, but they come with their own risks. One issue is the interactive nature of smartwatches that could take a driver’s eyes off the road and hands off the wheel. This type of distraction could easily result in an accident. Since smartwatches are relatively new, law enforcement has to catch up in regulating their use while driving, and more research is needed to establish the actual risks.

What are the Functions of Smartwatches?

Smartwatches sync with other electronic devices, like cellphones and tablets. They are part of a growing desire for hands-free connectivity. The user simply wears it like a regular wristwatch and accesses functions of their phone or other devices with the touch of their finger.

Functions vary from device to device, but they often include health and fitness tracking and access to voicemail messages, music players, calendars, and navigation services. Smartwatches definitely have the potential to distract drivers. The National Safety Council (NSC) refers to driver distractions as anything that takes a motorist’s eyes off the road and their hands off the steering wheel. Both of these happen when using smartwatches.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as an activity that takes the motorist’s attention away from driving to focus on any other activity. With the number of electronic devices in the hands of drivers today, cellphones have become the leading cause of distracted driving accidents. With so many accidents caused by drivers using their phones, distracted driving is almost synonymous with texting and driving. However, accidents involving smartwatches are increasing as well.

Digital Distractions

Drivers can be distracted by a variety of factors. When it comes to digital distractions, there are many possible causes and factors. The NHTSA looks at a variety of factors and how they can affect driving safety. The most common factor is texting and driving.

Texting is very dangerous because it requires the driver to take their eyes off of the road, cognitively focus on the message they are reading or writing, and physically take a hand off the wheel to type. Voice texting reduces some of these risks, but it can still be distracting. Additionally, laptop computers, navigation systems, and entertainment and streaming devices create risks for drivers.

Are Distracted Drivers Responsible for Car Accidents?

Smartwatch technology is relatively new, so there is not abundant legislation to address the risks. Regardless of specific laws regarding smartwatches, drivers still bear responsibility for their negligent actions. Anytime a driver fails to follow roadway safety laws, they are legally responsible. If they swerve into another lane, exceed the speed limit, or drive while distracted, they are still responsible for keeping control of the vehicle and protecting the safety of other motorists.

How Do I Avoid a Distracted Driving Car Accident?

There are a few important considerations to remember when it comes to preventing distracted driving accidents. Here are some helpful tips for motorists:

  • Remember that communication can wait. Answering a phone call or text can always wait until the vehicle is not moving. If one has to answer the phone, they should safely pull over to the side of the road.
  • Use built-in safety features. Many devices now have driving modes that can be turned on to silence distracting messages and notifications.
  • Turn off the cellphone or smartwatch. Whether it is a wearable device or a cellphone, sometimes, the easiest solution is to simply turn it off before planning to drive.

What Should I Do After a Distracted Driving Car Accident?

While taking steps to avoid distractions is very helpful, it does not stop other drivers from engaging in reckless behaviors. If an accident occurs because of another driver, it is important to do the following:

  • Seek medical attention.
  • Document injuries and damages.
  • Collect information about the other driver, such as insurance and the license plate number.
  • Talk to any witnesses.
  • Contact a lawyer right away.

Cherry Hill Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Victims Injured in All Types of Distracted Driving Accidents

A driver can be distracted by many items, including a smartwatch. Distracted driving accidents are very dangerous and can be deadly. If you were injured in an accident that was caused by a distracted driver, it is important that you understand your legal options. A knowledgeable Cherry Hill car accident lawyer at DiTomaso Law will protect your rights after a distracted driving collision. Located in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Mt. Holly, Camden County, and Vineland. For a free consultation, call us at 856-414-0010 or complete our online form today.

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