Motoring experts have warned motorists that using an Apple Watch while driving could receive a prison sentence for up to two years.
The Apple Watch, released early 2015, will allow users to make and receive phone calls on their wrist but people who use the watch while driving will face the same penalties as those caught on their mobile phones.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists has warned that smartwatches will ‘significantly’ impair driving performance. The Apple Watch will require users to use two hands to operate and the Institute of Advanced Motorists claims this will impact speed, lane position and time spent looking at the road.
The Department for Transport has also confirmed that using an Apple Watch while driving will carry the same penalty as using a mobile phone and those caught will receive three penalty points and a £100 fine. Ultimately, it will be up to authorities to determine whether or not motorists are distracted while using the watch on the road.
The Department for Transport took similar steps in 2013 to ban motorists from using Google Glass while driving.
Crown Prosecution guidelines state where a motorist uses a mobile phone causing death by dangerous driving will receive a sentence of two years imprisonment.
Neil Greig, Institute of Advanced Motorists Director of Policy and Research said: “Apple Watch has the potential to be just as distracting as any other smartphone device. Indeed more so if you have to take your hand off the wheel and your eyes off the road to interact with it.
“Enforcement will be difficult for the police, but powers exist to seize and interrogate devices in the event of a serious crash. The very device that distracted you also has the power to convict you.”