Smartwatches and Distracted Driving Dangers | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Virginia Car Accident Lawyer

Our personal injury law firm has represented many clients who were victims of distracted driving crashes. Distracted driving has now become a major cause of vehicle accidents in Virginia and across the United States. This has been due in large part to the significant increase in ownership and use of smartphones. Despite the known perils of using these devices while driving, many drivers still continue to text, email, post on social media accounts, and other activities while they are behind the wheel, far too often resulting in tragic consequences.

These activities cause the driver to experience three types of distractions at once:

  • Cognitive distraction: Driver takes their focus off the task of driving and puts it on the task of texting, etc.
  • Manual distraction: Driver takes hands off the wheel in order to perform the smartphone activity
  • Visual distraction: Driver takes eyes off the road in order to look at their smartphone


Smartwatches have revolutionized how we stay connected, manage our daily lives, and access information on the go. These wearable devices, with their sleek designs and multifunctional capabilities, have become increasingly popular. However, there is a concerning side to their ubiquity – the potential for distracted driving dangers.

Although many people are aware of the dangers of smartphones while driving, they are not aware that the same types of dangers exist with smartwatches. Just like with their smartphones, owners of smartwatches can set these devices, so they receive notifications of phone calls, text messages, emails, and reminders. This is done through Bluetooth technology. Smartwatches also allow users to download apps that allow them to play music, games, and other activities, just like their smartphones. When a notification pings on your wrist, it can be difficult to resist the urge to glance at it, even if you’re navigating traffic. This momentary diversion from the road can have devastating consequences.

Moreover, smartwatches often have voice recognition features that enable hands-free communication. While this might seem like a safer alternative to texting, it still requires cognitive attention. Engaging in a voice call or dictating a message can divert a driver’s focus from the road, potentially leading to accidents.

Navigation features on smartwatches can also be problematic. While they can be a valuable tool for finding directions, constant glancing at the tiny screen can create significant visual distraction. Drivers may miss crucial road signs, traffic signals, or pedestrians when they should be fully engaged in the act of driving.

Unfortunately, many drivers use their smartphones while behind the wheel as a way to avoid receiving a citation from law enforcement for texting and driving or because they mistakenly think this is safer than using their smartphone while driving. Both of these thoughts are wrong.

In states that have banned hand-held devices while driving, the smartwatch is included in those bans. As far as safety goes, smartwatches can actually be more dangerous than smartphones. This is because when a driver uses their smartwatch, they are using two hands to operate it. The device is on one wrist, and the driver needs to use the opposite hand to operate it. This leaves no hands on the wheel of the vehicle.

Proving Distracted Driving

If you were injured in a car crash and you suspect the other driver was engaged in some sort of distracted driving behavior, you may be stressed trying to figure out how you will be able to prove it. This is where a Virginia car accident attorney can help. A skilled and experienced injury attorney knows how to fully investigate crashes, obtain any surveillance videos from nearby businesses, interview witnesses, and even legally obtain the other driver’s cell phone service records to prove he or she was texting, emailing, etc.

Let a Virginia Injury Attorney Help

If you have been injured in a crash caused by a driver who was texting and driving or some other distracted driving behavior, contact a Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have. The legal team from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp has been advocating for injured clients since 1985 and will do all we can to ensure you receive the best possible outcome under the circumstances of your case. If you would like to meet with one of our skilled Virginia car accident attorneys to find out how we can help, call us today for a free case evaluation.