Is driving whilst using a smart watch an offence?

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 prohibit driving whilst using a hand-held mobile telephone or a hand-held device (other than a two-way radio) which performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data.

For the purposes of the regulation, 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.

If the watch is not hand-held then the mobile phone legislation is not applicable. However, there are other offences which may apply:

  • Dangerous driving
  • Careless driving
  • Not in proper control 

Absent unusual facts, 'not in proper control' is the most likely candidate and carries the same penalty as the specific mobile phone legislation; see section 41D Road Traffic Act 1988.