There could be more than 10 million smartwatches sold in the United States, and there is growing concern from the National Safety Council that drivers will have yet another distraction while behind the wheel. Mobile phones are involved in 27 percent of current US traffic accidents, and smartwatches could only make the problem worse.
Even though smartwatches, which allow owners to access emails, text messages, social media, calendar information, and other data directly on their watch, could prove especially problematic for drivers.
"Smartwatches will be just as distracting, if not more so, than cell phones," said Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, in a public statement.
Smartwatch manufacturers are being pressured into leading safety campaigns to inform owners to be vigilant - and not to interact with their devices while behind the wheel. "Distracted driving is about to become a much bigger problem, because the launch of the Apple Watch is making smartwatches a mainstream product," said Stephen Joseph, attorney for the Coalition Against Distracted Driving, as he files a lawsuit that could make manufacturers take a more proactive safety approach.