back to article Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE

We're struggling to find a single reason why anyone would want to wear an Apple Watch, but here's one reason why you shouldn't. The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has warned that anyone caught using a justWatch when driving will be be hit with the same punishment as if they had been using a mobile phone. This …

  1. John Robson Silver badge

    Except that...

    We have no police any more, so the chances of being caught are sufficiently small that noone cares.

    At least that's what I see on the roads - huge numbers of people still using handheld phones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Except that...

      "We have no police any more,"

      Well there's around 130,000 people currently being paid as police officers, plus another 13,000 PCSOs. Over ten years that's a fairly minimal 3% reduction in real coppers, with the number of plastic plods rising by 12,000, so I'm not sure what your baseline is for "any more".

      I'd agree that they are far less visible than they used to be but as their previous currency was often harassing speeding motorists on long, wide straight roads, or enforcing a motorway speed limit held in near universal contempt, I'm not sure that there's been much loss. And the advent of Highways Agency traffic officers has been a further boon for motorists, since they sort out minor incidents far quicker than the police managed.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Except that...

        "Well there's around 130,000 people currently being paid as police officers"

        Yes, but most of them are stood outside the Ecuadorian embassy waiting for Assange(tm) to come out.

      2. Richard Jones 1

        Re: Except that...

        It does appear that too many police are forced to spend hours filling forms and doing diversity training, audits and other vital tasks rather than looking after the people who need their help.

        Certainly the rise of those who feel it is valid to drive straight on at roundabouts, So far this week I have had one a day nearly T-bone me as I go round and they go straight across the mound. Overtaking on double white lines 'isn't that what the lines are for?' appears to be the attitude of many drivers these days. Red lights just mean cross faster; hand held phones are for folding - NOT just apple things but any phone will do.

        There was an error in singling out the apple watch thing. It should have been a timely reminder that any (all?) similar device(s) are already covered by existing legislation. In this regard apple is nothing special and should not be picked out.

      3. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Except that...

        ""We have no police any more,"

        Well there's around 130,000 people currently being paid as police officers, plus another 13,000 PCSOs. Over ten years that's a fairly minimal 3% reduction in real coppers, with the number of plastic plods rising by 12,000, so I'm not sure what your baseline is for "any more"."


        Of course we still have police officers, but the actual rate at which they monitor for basic bad driving or dangerous vehicle maintenance is virtually nil. Even with the PCSOs and the Highways Agency (who I've never seen clear anything up, let alone quickly) there is virtually no enforcement of any law on the road.

        Motorists jump traffic lights, ignore speed limits, use hand held mobile phones, fail to clear their windows before setting off, only have one head/brake light working, use their foglights in good visibility, fail to indicate, ignore double white lines, ignore double yellow lines.... and none of this is regularly detected or prosecuted by the judicial system (yes I know illegal parking is now "decriminalised").

        Obviously not all of the above applies to all motorists all the time, but it doesn't take much of a journey to observe them all.

        Currently the judicial system makes important what is easy to measure (speed), and ignores what is not (tailgating) - then they give such massive latitude against what is easy to measure (such that the police have told me that the speed camera just up the road from where I live is set to 37mph in a 30 zone that habitual speeding is practically encouraged.

        This general laissex faire attitude towards driving, and the complete lack of any punishment if you ever do manage to get to the courts, means that bad driving isn't dealt with until you kill someone - and at that point the motorist was "unlucky".

    2. JeffyPoooh

      "...powers exist to seize and interrogate devices..."

      Meanwhile in other news... Didn't Apple *just* announce that the power to "interrogate devices" is no longer available to anyone except the owner?

      Does the iWatch have a PIN Code?

      1. Steve 53

        Re: New???

        They could force you to provide the decryption key under RIPA, if they really wanted to

      2. Richard Jones 1

        Re: "...powers exist to seize and interrogate devices..."

        (a) They can demand the code under RIPA, but

        (b) also they can and will obtain the data from the service provider relating to activity at the time of or immediately before a serious accident.

        The shame is that the evidence is retrospective and too late if the user or someone else is dead.

        I have just followed a stupid person out of a hospital car park. The effort to pull out of a parking space was considerable increased by their need to hand hold two phones in one hand! Fortunately they then turned left so I turned right.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Except that...

      You mean that in proportion to the number of metal boxes on the roads we have less police? that's the only way your statement could have any value.

      So what is YOUR solution?

  2. Flugal

    The number of drivers who still consider using a non hands-free mobile phone at the wheel quite acceptable suggests a) The police don't give a f**k, and b) The drivers don't give a f**k.

    'i' won't be purchasing a justWatch, but doubt the largely uninforced threat of the law will have any great impact on the vehicular activities of justWatch wearers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wonder how this applies to my Ipod Nano (6th gen) that I wear on my wrist like a watch.

    2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      "The police don't give a f**k,"

      They do. They are just too busy playing with their 2-way radios, console mounted PC, personal cell phone and radar gun to notice.

  3. Semtex451

    You justWatch

    We'll soon have Stephen Pie's opinion

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge


    "The risk comes when drivers take their eyes off the road to peer at their watch. Stare too long, the transport bods warned, and you will kill yourself and others."


    Why do they never say that?

    1. ZSn

      Re: Speedo?

      Because it's not true?

      1. Joe Harrison

        Re: Speedo?

        Yes it is, maybe not the speedo but the other stuff. I've had my car for six years and the heater is so fiddly I still can't do it without looking carefully.

        1. Flip

          Re: Speedo?

          Twice a year I have to remember how to change the radio clock - something best done while parked.

          The actual instrument gauges, on the other hand, are easy to scan and interpret while driving. Monitoring the gauges is actually taught by driving schools - a quick glance to confirm everything is ok, then back to the road.

          1. Richard Taylor 2

            Re: Speedo?

            I never bother changing it. Forces a little thought :-)

        2. Tom 35

          Re: Speedo?

          The guy at the auto show got pissed at me for saying their touch screen control panel was going to kill people. Heat, nav, radio, phone... all on one touch screen. You can't just reach over for a nob, you can't feel anything, you have to look at the bloody thing.

          It might be a good idea to say away from the roads for a week after the AppleWatch is released so the toy obsessed will have a chance to get sick of playing with the thing.

      2. Elmer Phud

        Re: Speedo?

        I've always wondered how come it take longer to glance at the speedo than it does to check the mirrors.

        Or a quick glance at the dash to check no funny lights have come on.

        Or looking at road sign or or or or

        How come we are told its hard to keep to 50mph on a restricted section

        Do we really need to ensure we are always dead on 50mph?

        Poor exuses for crap driving more like it.

        (that or whinging after being caught)

        1. SImon Hobson

          Re: Speedo?

          > I've always wondered how come it take longer to glance at the speedo than it does to check the mirrors.

          It doesn't take longer to "glance". It does take longer to check your accurate speed. It also depends on how good (or not) your eyesight is and how long it takes to adjust your focus - yes, I used to respond to that one with "WTF ?" but as the old elapsed time meter rolls round, I'm realising that it is a factor (especially if there is a significant difference in brightness between inside and outside, and some cars have crap instruments in this respect).

          TL;DR version ?

          I can hold "about" any speed with only occasional glances at the speedo. If I were in Brunstrom* Country with a stupid policy then I'd have to spend far too long looking at the speedo to be sure not to creep a smidgen over some arbitrary number.

          * Thankfully that dangerous idiot was hoisted by his own petard.

          1. Richard Jones 1

            Re: Speedo?

            I find the cruise control wonderful. Cruise up to say 48 for the 50 limit and just sometimes use the up and down to maintain a near constant safe speed. It works blindingly well through motorway works. Mind you a speed limiter would be even better. However I do have a nice easily read set of instruments.

            1. Extra spicey vindaloo

              Re: Speedo?

              I love speed limiters, great for motorway driving and good for town as well. The toyota that I recently rented though had the worst implementation of a speed limiter, it took longer to look and set it than I felt safe with doing.

        2. MrXavia

          Re: Speedo?

          "Do we really need to ensure we are always dead on 50mph?"

          yes, otherwise you'll get fines & points on your license, that is of much more importance than actually keeping your eyes on the road....

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Speedo?

        "Because it's not true?"

        Yes it is. Stare resolutely at the speedo and sooner or later you will crash because you're not looking at the road ahead. Same goes for the satnav, looking at a map or dicking around with the radio or trip computer.

        Flicking your eyes to read a text message is no more dangerous in principle than looking at the speedo, although normally a text message is more information-dense and requires longer glances, which is where the increased risk is introduced.

        I reserve special loathing for touch-screen radios and dash controls which require you to look where you're putting your finger. "Traditional" and "old-fashioned" tactile controls (dials and buttons) have the great advantage of being operable by touch alone without taking your eyes off the road.

        Someone who causes an accident because they're playing angry birds on their wrist should of course be dealt with appropriately (execution ideally), but the mere act of wearing a smart watch is no more incriminating than driving a car full of factory-fitted gadgets distractions.

        1. Jess--

          Re: Speedo?

          re: touchscreen stereos

          I agree regarding the 100% touchscreen stereo systems, I went for an older model which (while still being touchscreen based) has a big volume knob next to the screen which has the nice addition of a single push of the knob (instead of turning) muting the system entirely no matter what it's doing (phone, pratnav or music)

          another nice touch is that if I get an incoming phone call 1/2 of the screen is green "Answer" and the other half is red "Decline" meaning it's a big target to hit at a glance.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Speedo?

          You guys need to get newer cars with HUDs. Analogue dials, thats so 20th century.

          1. Hellcat

            Re: Speedo?

            My 1989 Fiat Tipo had a digital dashboard. Can't help but chuckle at these 'modern' cars with their digital displays.

            1. Winkypop Silver badge

              Re: Speedo?

              My 1986 Alfa Romeo had a full digital dash.

              When it worked.

              It had a habit of 'rebooting' while driving at night.

              No lights, no instruments, no idea.

        3. Robert Helpmann??

          Re: Speedo?

          Someone who causes an accident because they're playing angry birds on their wrist should of course be dealt with appropriately (execution ideally)...

          So, should they be loaded into a giant slingshot and hurled at some random collection of debris or be forced to stay in one place while poultry is fired at them from on high? Either one works for me.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Speedo?

            Okay, lets say all of us here have glaced away from the road at times

            All: Speedo

            Some: + + our watches to tell the time

            Looking at the speedo requires a glance, which is within margin., as is glancing at a wristwatch to tell the time.

            Both are information displayed in an expected format. both are unchangiong in the way they disaply that information - there is no 'surprise' information, noe unexpected SMS text.

            Except that the Speedo display can surprise: A warning light! However, it is a warning, so it is only telling you to safely slow down and then safely park. It is not telling you "that the timing chain is getting worn so get it seen by a professional now or else risk engine damage soon" - by the time you've read that, you would have crashed.

    2. Mike Smith

      Re: Speedo?


      s/watch/scantily dressed female on the pavement

      s/watch/kids fighting in the back


      s/watch/animated billboard

      s/watch/punch-up outside a pub

      s/watch/you get the idea

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Speedo?

        Car stereos that don't have a volume knob, but instead rely on two fiddly buttons.

    3. AIBailey

      Re: Speedo?

      Without an Apple Watch...

      > glance at speedo

      > note current speed

      > look back at road.

      Somewhat different to

      > Glance at watch

      > See that Fred has sent a text/email/FaceBook message

      > Press button to read more of message

      > Continue to drive whilst repeatedly glancing at wrist to read message (due to the small sizxe of the watch face, this may take some time, and will require concentration)


      The significant phrase above is "Stare too long".

    4. Amorous Cowherder

      Re: Speedo?

      Use voice control? I've only got a bog standard Honda CRV and it has full voice control for almost every system in the car, including heating, sat nav, music/radio, phone calls. Push one button on the steering wheel and then tell it what you want, "heater up one degree", "radio preset two", "satnav destination home" or "phone book dial home" to get the handfree to use my mobile. Alright you look a bit mental to passers by while sitting at the lights shouting at no one inside your car but at least you never have to take your eye off the road other than for the speedo. You can use cruise control to lock the speed on long roads.

      My kids have a great time yelling rude or stupid words at the cars voice control to see how badly it interprets their squeeky tones!

    5. JP19

      Re: Speedo?


      Why do they never say that?"

      Because they are full of shit. Anything which you allow to distract you from the task of driving sufficiently is dangerous which is why outlawing specific distractions and effectively legalising all others is stupid and counter productive.

      I've said here before a dick head with a phone in his hand is still a dick head when you take the phone away. We need to concentrate on curing the cause of the problem (being a dick head) not on hiding some of the symptoms.

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. JP19

        Re: Speedo?

        "The people who claim speed limits are dangerous because"

        If I could not drive safely without a speedometer I would give up driving.

        Why don't you try covering up your speedometer and see if you worry more about life and limb or license and wallet.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Driving is very difficult

    I once had some minor trouble driving while sewing a button on my shirt, while I was in a sleeping bag at the same time.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Driving is very difficult

      Well what did you expect when your bobble hat was falling over your eyes?

  6. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Knee Jerk Off

    So this is legislation on the basis that Mr. Plod "thinks" it's a crime - the Google Android watches have been out for a while now - how many accidents have they caused? Should we actually wait and see if using a watch is a problem before legislating?

    Years ago I had a watch that told me the time in four different zones, the altitude, barometric pressure, and a host of other features - is this now illegal? What about winding up a real wrist-watch?

    Odd how coppers seem to be able to use hand-held radio mics in cars ...

    1. ISP

      Re: Knee Jerk Off

      It's driving without due care and attention, pretty much a catch all offence.

      1. The First Dave

        Re: Knee Jerk Off

        Actually it's not an offence _yet_ - no cases have gone to court, so no magistrates have had a chance to set a precedent either way, so all that plod can actually say is that they intend to treat it as such. They are also wrong in saying that it is the same a using a mobile phone - which is a fixed penalty offence these days, quite unlike "due care and attention".

        Not that plod would ever give out inaccurate advice...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Knee Jerk Off

      Should we actually wait and see if using a watch is a problem before legislating?

      It's proven that arsing about with devices, and therefore not concentrating on the road, causes accidents.

      Odd how coppers seem to be able to use hand-held radio mics in cars ...

      Not really, the driver doesn't hold it in their hand and they've had repeated advanced driver training - also, who the fuck drives dangerously where there's a police car near by?

      1. Anonymous Custard

        Re: Knee Jerk Off

        The average PC is probably more pissed off that on his salary he can't afford the iStuff himself...

      2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: Knee Jerk Off

        who the fuck drives dangerously where there's a police car near by?

        Seems to me everyone tends towards that. I suspect most drivers feel pressured by the presence of a police car on their tail, keep checking their speedos and mirrors looking to see if they have gone yet and worrying they are about to get pulled for some reason. Trying to drive absolutely perfectly and simple paranoia seems to do odd things to normal people.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Knee Jerk Off

        "Not really, the driver doesn't hold it in their hand" Yes they do, some of them have a look at plain clothes for that example

        "who the f- drives dangerously where there's a police car near by"

        Well quite a lot of people. When behind with blues on they tend to do stupid things like pull over immediately on a narrow road with a nice bend in front, or on the approach to a roundabout with no room to pass, or a brow of a hill. If an emergency vehicle is behind, just keep driving until there is a nice safe place to slow right down or pull over, not hard is it.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Knee Jerk Off

          > If an emergency vehicle is behind, just keep driving until there is a nice safe place to slow right down or pull over, not hard is it.

          Agreed, if its intention to pull you over. No harm in gently slowing, and maybe blinkng your lights to communicate that you have got message and will pull over at the first available safe place.

          If an ambulance, give a flash of your headlights whist planning your action, as it might help the people ahead of you notice the ambulance behind you and thus move move appropriately too.

          1. Graham Marsden

            Blue Light Aware

            > If an emergency vehicle is behind, just keep driving until there is a nice safe place to slow right down or pull over, not hard is it.


      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Advanced training"

        Always the excuse for why police can use radios, computers, etc. while driving despite laws preventing it for the rest of us.

        You can't train someone to multitask. Human brains have a limited capacity for that, other than the 2% of whatever of the population that are "supertaskers" (which 90% of people probably think they fall under) Cops can't do this any better than you or I can, unless they're one of that 2%.

        Besides, the training police have for driving fast many of us spent a lot of time practicing extensively in our younger days. I'd bet on myself (or anyone else reading this who was similarly non law abiding when younger and perhaps still occasionally when older :)) to win a race against any cop who always has and still does follow speed limits as a private citizen and only drove fast during training or when absolutely necessary in his job.

        1. Graham Marsden
          Thumb Down

          @DougS - Re: "Advanced training"

          Let me guess, you've never had any advanced driving training?

          In fact, I'd wager that, like 99% of the people out on the road, you've never had *any* more training than what you had to pass your Driving Test which simply means that you've achieved the bare minimum level of competency to be allowed out in charge of a vehicle.

          Your local IAM or RoSPA group will almost certainly offer you a free Assessment of your driving skills, why not see just how good you actually are?

        2. Brenda McViking

          Re: "Advanced training"

          You jolly well can teach someone to multitask - it involves making neural connections to the point that things are done automatically without requiring a slow cognitive decision. E.G. manipulating the clutch whilst negotiating a busy hill junction with traffic lights. You get someone who has never driven a car before and they physically will be unable to manage it, because they haven't learnt how to multitask.

          Same with aircraft. Flying a circuit (takeoff, go around the airfield once and land) - requires an intensive amount of multitasking. You have to be aware of your own aircraft, it's speeds, setup, altitude, engine setting and position in 3 dimensions, whilst negotiating with air traffic control via a radio and being aware of everything other aircraft in the pattern with you. Some of which will be going a lot faster (or slower) than you. If you haven't been taught how to multitask, you cannot do this properly, which is why you have to be trained to be a pilot.

          This is why we have licences for these things - it certifies that you have the appropriate neural connections to be able to multitask properly.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Brenda McViking

            Sounds like you're confusing walking while chewing gum at the same time type of tasks with true multitasking - trying to split conscious attention between two tasks.

            You can't learn to concentrate on driving and be able to tap the keys on the computer in the police car at the same time any more than you could learn how to drive and text at the same time. I doubt their training provides for that regardless, other than giving the list of times when you shouldn't try to do both and hope they listen. The human brain is incapable of switching attention between two tasks instantaneously like a computer can. The reason you can learn to shift gears without thinking is because that doesn't require conscious thought once you've learned. That will never be the case with texting, you can't learn to do that thoughtlessly no matter how much time you spent on it.

            As far as flying a circuit, small children tend not to jump out in front of your aircraft, so you don't need to concentrate to the same degree as you do when driving. There is a lot more going on in an aircraft you have to worry about, but nothing is likely to pop up which suddenly demands 100% attention in a fraction of a second the way it can while driving. The only exception might be stunt flying like Blue Angels type stuff where they are wingtip to wingtip. I imagine they are not chatting with the ground during those stunts, the only communication they're likely to do is with each other, and if so I'll bet that communication is every bit as tightly choreographed as the stunts are.

            1. pepper

              Re: @Brenda McViking

              I hate to break it to you but in a circuit is exactly the point at which something is about to pop up into your view, sometimes at the same height, different speed and converging angle. I take it you havent flown much in VFR traffic? It's just as bad as a kid jumping your plane, only then messier.

      5. Tom 35

        Re: Knee Jerk Off

        " they've had repeated advanced driver training"

        and no one is going to give them a ticket. Saw one yesterday making a left onto the road that leads to the station (not rushing to a call) no signal, talking on his phone, it's only been red for a second or two so it's still OK.

      6. The First Dave

        Re: Knee Jerk Off

        So somehow, the advanced training that Police officers receive makes them better drivers than highly paid F1 drivers, or World Rally Drivers? Both groups make use of radio communication, but it has to be VERY well managed; one pace note out of order and there's a big crash; one call to change an engine mode when entering a corner and someone's pit crew is getting sacked.

        1. Graham Marsden

          @The First Dave - Re: Knee Jerk Off

          There is a big difference between the training that the Police get to drive or ride on Britain's streets and driving or riding on a closed course where there's much less chance of having someone pull out on you or do something equally stupid.

          And even then it can go wrong, eg the recent crash involving Prince Harry's motorcycle outrider, but at least they're better prepared.

    3. Graham Marsden

      @Version 1.0 - Re: Knee Jerk Off

      > Should we actually wait and see if using a watch is a problem before legislating?

      The legislation is *already* there.

      * * * * *

      The Definition of a Hand-Held Mobile Phone

      The Regulation includes any "device, other than a two-way radio, which performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data".

      It states that a "mobile telephone or other device is to be treated as hand-held if it is, or must be, held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function". "interactive communication function" includes:

      sending or receiving oral or written messages;

      sending or receiving facsimile documents;

      sending or receiving still or moving images; and

      providing access to the internet

      * * * * *

      1. Rob Crawford

        Re: @Version 1.0 - Knee Jerk Off

        The Definition of a Hand-Held Mobile Phone

        The Regulation includes any "device, other than a two-way radio, which performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data".

        By that definition my wife is a mobile phone as she isn't a two way radio, which provides interactive communication and as far as I am aware she is also capable of receiving data (though she is usually transmitting)

    4. Tom 35

      Re: Knee Jerk Off

      So this is legislation... no it's not new legislation (for once) it's the same law that would apply to texting on your phone.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mission Creep

    How long before they start doing you for looking at normal analogue watch??

    Cant eat, drink or use a phone, but somehow, fiddling about with, lighting, and waving around a burning cylinder of toxic weeds is still fine and dandy.

    BTW I saw a "hands free" Citroen in Malvern yesterday.

    Female "driver" with both hands off of the wheel and fiddling with her phone; staring down into her lap and heading straight towards a crowded school crossing. Somehow no one was hit, but only because the children got out of the way in time.

    Call the Police?? Her word against mine as to why, assuming they could be bothered to do anything.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mission Creep

      "Call the Police?? Her word against mine as to why, assuming they could be bothered to do anything."

      But if they knew, and there's multiple reports they can do something. And if she's prosecuted in future after an accident, you could be called as a witness when it's her word against whoever she hit.

  8. Scott Mckenzie


    The Reg has really gone downhill hasn't it... is it not possible to post an article that doesn't have to have a dig at Apple? We all know they think you're a bunch of complete and utter kumquats too and hence never invite you anywhere, but the plethora of drivel that comes through on my RSS feeds means I miss out on the once a week vaguely interesting article you guys actually write these days.

    Have you thought about growing up?

    1. Mike Smith

      Re: Yawn

      "Have you thought about growing up?"

      Have you thought about putting some flowers in your hair and going back to San Francisco?

      1. Scott Mckenzie

        Re: Yawn

        Been a few times. I'm dead now though so can't go anymore :(

  9. Joey


    ...that it is only the Apple Watch that could cause problems. Why not a Casio Calculator Watch or a Rolex with a stopwatch function? A: Because putting 'Apple' in a headline makes people sit up and pay attention. What about using a sat-nav? My TomTom has a dreadful touchscreen and even worse GUI. It can talk to me but I can't talk to it, which I could if I had an Apple Watch.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just fine them £100

    for owning one, and being out in the street with it on. Never mind this driving nonsense.

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Jumping the iShark

    Where there similar warnings in the days of the Tamagotchi?

    I won't even go into Mr Hamill's naysaying about any Apple product in existence, ever. And maybe even those never in existence, inside the event horizons of Black Holes and out there in the Tegmark IV multiverse.

  12. ukgnome

    OK several things that I simply must vent at.

    The police cannot currently catch people using mobile phones, how long has that been in force? In fact the last dick head to cut me up on my motocycle was on the phone, this was three days ago. I instantly recognised that the pillock was a police officer, he had kindly labled his car as such. He didn't like me much when I reminded him that he shouldn't be on the phone, and when he got a little bit cocky and aggressive I pointed out that all his actions are on film.

    Glancing at a watch is no more distracting than glancing at the dash, spedo, odo etc.

    However, I suppose it depends what's on the watch. Technically driving with a satnav stuck on your windscreen is also illegal but the old bill don't seem to care much for that.

    As for IAM, I thought that was cat biscuits.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, for those not in a position to comment....

    The offence, which has existed for several years now, is:

    "Using a handheld device whilst driving."

    Without getting fussy, this applies to satnavs, taxi control gadgets, watches, etc. It's a catch all and if you look on the Police Information Network (Which I just have) there are plenty of stated cases where people have been charged for using all of the above.

    Of course, there is other legislation which also works.

    Careless driving

    Failing to have full control of the vehicle

    etc,etc, so you can always libel something different and the Fiscal will decide what fits best.

    The press has jumped on Apple, as we knew it would, but realistically, if we see anyone driving who clearly isn't paying attention (Yes, we can see when you're looking down to text on your lap), then we deal with it appropriately.

    For anyone that still thinks using phones, etc, is fine, sit next to someone who's driving, and look at the side of their head as they look down to text, whilst watching the window to see how much ground you actually cover whilst they're not even looking ahead.

    It's fucking terrifying.

  14. Frankee Llonnygog

    A single reason why anyone would want to wear an Apple Watch

    To annoy El Reg readers?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I find it's actually safer...

    I use my iphone in my car to listen to music/podcasts and find that using the remote control function on my Pebble watch actually makes things safer.

    Before, if I wanted to skip a track, I would scrabble around in the glovebox, pick up my phone, swear as I accidently pressed the wrong button, press several buttons then eventually press the next track button.

    Now, I just raise my free hand to my watch and press one button whilst keeping my eyes on the road.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I find it's actually safer...

      "Free hand"

      While driving? And you think that is safer?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I find it's actually safer...

        Of course it's safer.

        I can move my hand less than 12 inches from one side of the wheel to the other to press a button. So unless your arms are significantly different to mine I can't see why it wouldn't be safer. Are you proposing that I drive all the time with both hands on the steering wheel? If so, how do I change gear, use my indicators, use the handbrake or pick my nose?

        It's actually further to reach across and turn the radio on, than it is to switch track using my watch.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I find it's actually safer...

      You use a watch to control a phone to listen to something? why?

      I use a tiny 32Gb Sandisk Cruzer Fit, and can control track skipping, volume etc from three buttons placed within an inch of the thumb of my right hand when holding the steering wheel.

      Not a flash car, not premium, not expensive. Sensible design on a family car built by a manufacturer without a designer badge on the front.

      £500 for a phone plus £125 for a watch or £12 for a usb stick?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I find it's actually safer...

        Sure I could buy some cheapo USB stick player, but I happen to own a phone which already contains all my music,/syncs podcasts AND a watch which enables me to remote control it.

        I didn't buy this combo just to be able to change track whilst driving, I already had these devices...

    3. Tom 35

      Re: I find it's actually safer...

      I expect it's safer to text while driving then to change your pants while driving, but that's not a reason to say texting is a good idea.

      It's just saying, could be worse...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I find it's actually safer...

        If you have cruise control, changing clothes while doing 75mph is easy. Without cruise, your speed will fall, so you should change on a downhill stretch.

        When I had a T9 Nokia, I could send a text message without looking at the phone. I've also driven from Atlanta to Dallas without logging out of a chatroom, but at 7 miles per sentence, I wasn't very active.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I find it's actually safer...


        And at no point did I say that I texted. But then actually reading what I wrote wouldn't allow you to come out with a smart-ass response.

  16. viscount

    Alarmist nonsense

    This has nothing to do with the Apple Watch. If you take your eyes off the road and do something else you can be punished (enforcement issues notwithstanding). It could be a watch, or a phone, or a satnav, or a copy of the Sun.

  17. Laurent Somers

    starting at 349 *dollars*, not pounds...

    1. Graham Marsden

      @Laurent Somers

      Yes, but we all know that, somehow, when any such device crosses the Pond, the exchange rate magically becomes £1 = $1

  18. Winkypop Silver badge

    I watch the road

    Not the iWatch.

  19. Riku

    Upcoming legal faffage

    Imagine the legal wrangling that'll happen if they pull you over for looking at your [whatever] while in your self-driving car.

    I can hear the sound of gears shifting without a clutch in plod's head now.

    Of course you'll be arrested because they'll be confused and confused police find it easier to arrest you so their asses are covered.

  20. Steve I


    Is this just a random list of distracting things? Just, using an Apple Watch would be distracting but I didn't see the IAM issuing advice that the new Nerf guns would be distracting if small children were using them for a pitched battle in the back seat. Same for porcupines - a porcupine on the passenger seat is also distracting. Again, no warning. And that girl who I usually see walking up the hill near home - very distracting. Especially in summer.

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