Saturday, May 30, 2015

Can you now get a Ticket for "using" an Apple Watch while Driving? ~ Call Michael A. Haber, Esq. @ 1-888-SHARK-8-1

The Apple watch...

Is it a "hand-held device that includes a telephone function" or is it a "Bluetooth device that communicates a telephone signal from the phone"?  That... is the question.

Meet Jeffrey Macesin of Pincourt, Quebec, Canada.  That's him below.  I don't know if Jeff is a Shakespeare fan or not but I do know that he has posed the afore-asked Shakespearean quandary, or at least that his lawyer, Avi Levy, has asked it. 

Last week, in Canada, Jeff was stopped while driving his car by the Surete du Quebec police not for speeding or for weaving or for having defective equipment; rather he was stopped because the Popo had observed him manipulating his Apple watch while he was driving.  

Apparently there is a provision in the Quebec Highway Safety Code law which says that: "No person may, while driving a road vehicle, use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function", and this particular Surete du Quebec Police Officer, feeling that the Apple watch constituted "a hand-held device that includes a telephone function", decided to issue Jeff a ticket which carries four (4) points and a $120 (CD - which is presently about $96 USD) fine.  "Oh (boy) Canada!"... here we go.

Jeff gave an interview after receiving his controversial citation (which you can see here) wherein he explained that he was driving and using his Apple Watch not to make phone calls but to to change the music in his car.  Per Jeff:  "{I was} going towards Vaudreuil, I - there was a cop car behind me and he didn't have his lights on yet, but then he turned them on and I thought maybe he just wanted me to get out of the way... I already knew authorities were on a Highway 20 overpass since my Apple Watch has the traffic app Waze... my phone was in a bag and being charged and I was changing music with my Apple Watch... I was changing songs like this, with my hand on the steering wheel... I pulled over when I got off the bridge there, and sure enough, he got out of his car and came up to me and I asked what the problem was and he said that I was caught using my mobile device... It's not so much hand-held. It's a watch, you know? It's on my wrist. And that's where it gets really controversial. I understand their point of view, but the fact is that he thought I was using my phone, and I wasn't using my phone. I was using my watch."  Thus I, or Avi Levy or Jeff or whomever, ask you again:  Is the Apple watch a "hand-held device that includes a telephone function" or is it a "Bluetooth device that communicates a telephone signal from the phone"? 

This blog post may present a Canada issue but it addresses a global issue waiting to happen.  With exponentially greater frequency, sadly, folks are distracted drivers, and as technology advances so too do the distractions.  Ten (10) years ago no one would have thought of the dangers of texting and driving, but today no one can deny that the same are very real, very deadly and all to frequent occurrences.  My guess is that this will run up the Court chain and ultimately break against Jeff and the rest of the driving community (whether by Court ruling or by the Legislature - Parliament or whatever silly governing body they employ in Quebec - changing the law).  The idea behind Quebec's (and almost every other jurisdiction which is not embedded in the stone age and which has a similar law) is that public safety concerns override the individual's desire / need / right to use her / his technology in the limited instances where doing so reasonably and foreseeably effects others, and driving is such an instance.  By his own admission Jeff's Apple watch was not being used merely as a watch, he was not "telling time"; rather Jess was using his advanced "smart watch" to manipulate his radio (not to fail to mention to monitor police presence as, by his own admission (which I am certain will factor into the decision-making calculus) his "watch" was concurrently running "Waze", an app designed to allow you to interactively "join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info" - you can read about the app here) and it is not an unreasonable jump top conclude that the Apple watch served as a bona fide distraction to his responsibilities to be an observant  driver.  Further, one must remember that Jeff is a Quebec driver, and, if you live in South Florida as I do, then you probably know all about "Je me souviens" and the perils of being within a dozen car lengths (with or without an Apple watch or a smart phone or even a cup of coffee on the arm or even within hand's reach of the alleged driver, "eh")...

I am not trying to be either flippant or a party pooper, I'm just calling it like I see it.  In today's day and age there are too many accidents waiting to happen.  Personally I don't want my son or my siblings or my nieces or my nephews or my mother or my girlfriend or her daughter or her family or most anyone else to be a victim of someone who was paying more attention to their Apple watch, iPhone or anything else that serves as a distraction from their societal obligation to look out for the rest of us, while simultaneously operating a potential deadly instrumentality.

For more than 23 years Michael A. Haber, P.A. has been providing creative, effective and zealous advocacy and counsel in cases ranging from DUI to drug trafficking and from misdemeanors to first degree murder.  

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "Its all about reasonable doubt"!

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!

Cell: 305-798-2220; Office: 305-381-8686; Toll Free: 1-888-SHARK-8-1


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