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Smartwatch Companies Sued for Products' Distracted Driving Potential

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/27/2015 Jake Holmes

As convenient as it may be, you shouldn't check notifications on your Apple Watch on your morning commute. Attorney Stephen Joseph recently filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of several popular smartwatches, including Apple and Samsung, accusing the devices of being too dangerous to use while driving. The L.A. Times reports that Joseph's lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court names Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung.

Research

Under the court order, Joseph reportedly wants the four smartwatch manufacturers to jointly fund a $1 billion "education campaign" to teach the public about the dangers of looking at or interacting with a smartwatch display while driving. Many regions have already banned the use of touchscreen smartphones while behind the wheel, and Joseph's lawsuit reportedly wants to extend that warning to touchscreen watches.

Porsche Car Connect Apple Watch 1© Provided by MotorTrend Porsche Car Connect Apple Watch 1 "The temptation to check the tiny screen immediately after receiving a notification is virtually irresistible," the lawsuit says, according to The L.A. Times.

According to a research group in the U.K., drivers in a test environment took 26 percent more time to react to situations while driving after reading notifications on a smartwatch. Drivers in the test reportedly took an average of 2.52 seconds to react to an emergency on the road after checking a smartwatch message, versus just 1.85 seconds when holding a smartphone.

While they haven't encouraged owners to use smartwatches while actually driving, several automakers have developed apps that will allow drivers to interact with their car through Samsung or Apple smartwatches. The Hyundai BlueLink watch app and the Porsche Car Connect app, for instance, both allow car owners to check their vehicle's status, lock or unlock the doors, locate the car in a crowded parking lot, and even start the car's engine remotely from the watch.

Sources: The L.A. Times, International Business Tribune

Hyundai Blue Link Smartwatch© Provided by MotorTrend Hyundai Blue Link Smartwatch
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