'No plans' to make smartwatches legal while driving, says Government

Car smartwatch
Car smartwatch

New technology means the law has to adapt, and sometimes that can take quite a while. Smartwatches are in the position right now where not many understand the legality of their use, especially on the roads.

A Canadian man was fined earlier this week for using his Apple Watch while driving, to the surprise of man - so we investigated what the case was in the UK.

The Department for Transport responded with a resounding no. A spokesman said, "Drivers must give their full attention to the road, which is why it has been illegal since the 1980s to view a screen whilst driving a motor vehicle, unless that screen is displaying driving information. There are no plans to change this."

Red light

We read that as don't use your smartwatch whilst at the wheel, but does a smartwatch count as "a screen displaying driving information"?

What if you're using a navigation app on your smartwatch? Or you're just checking the time? That's legal on a normal watch so why is it a problem on a smartwatch?

It's all a little unclear right now and we're trying to get some more answers on the matter. As for now we recommend not paying attention to your smartwatch while driving - or leaving it off completely.

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.