back to article Man sparks controversy, fined $120 for enjoying wristjob while driving

Jeffrey Macesin, a self-described "gadget lover", has been slapped with a $120 fine and four points on his licence for enjoying his wristjob while operating a vehicle. The Canadian was pulled off the road by the Surete du Quebec, reported CTV Montreal. Macesin said he was unaware he was breaking the law, which of course is …

  1. SimonL

    What life?

    "This is my life," he said. "Its products have really helped me."

    What a sad, sad ,sad world we live in.

    1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: What life?

      Nah, just a sad, sad individual

  2. Aaiieeee
    Meh

    If he was using it as a watch he would have glanced at it to get the time and continued as normal. No police officer would notice this, but the fact one did suggests to me he was prodding at it or giving it undue attention which would be a distraction when he should be driving.

    I don't understand why a lot of people don't take driving very seriously?

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      In the UK it would be driving without due care and attention. Lighting a cig, changing something on the car stereo, looking at your watch etc all could fall foul if the plod thought it was relevant.

      1. Aaiieeee
        Flame

        What makes me angry is the source article has a picture of him looking hurt and confused and quoted him as being 'shocked' as if he is a victim rather than him being a reckless driver putting lives at risk. He then tries to justify himself on a technicality that 'he wasnt using or holding a phone'. Give over! Give drivng your full attention or pull over and have a fondle on the side of the road.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > He then tries to justify himself on a technicality that 'he wasnt using or holding a phone'.

          This is just the kind of thing that happens when laws try to be to proscriptive. They concentrate on the letter rather then intent.

          It is much better to have a more general law (not paying due care and attention while driving) and letting Plod use their skill and judgement. We need faith in said Plod of course but by and large, I think that we do.

        2. JP19

          "than him being a reckless driver putting lives at risk"

          You and we don't know that he was. It sounds like he was using media player controls and doing that on your wrist is probably less distracting than doing it on the car stereo. How dangerous either distraction is depends on road conditions which we don't know.

          It would be nice to think the police observed him dicking around with his watch under difficult traffic conditions and he had it coming. Unfortunately no one trusts the police enough to give them that discretion which why they have idiotic "use a hand-held device that includes a telephone function" laws - especially idiotic when we all know the danger is in the telephone function not the hand holding part.

          1. cray74

            @JP19

            "You and we don't know that he was. It sounds like he was using media player controls and doing that on your wrist is probably less distracting than doing it on the car stereo."

            We know that whatever the driver was doing involved being distracted by his wrist to the extent that someone in another car was able to observe him doing something with his watch. Whether flipping through his mix list, getting directions, or catching on Game of Thrones, by the time other drivers can notice it, it's too much distraction.

            The only fast wrist action other drivers tend to notice is when the wrist is deliberately displayed to them, usually surmounted by a closed fist and individually exposed middle finger.

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      "...a lot of people don't take driving very seriously?"

      Ever been to Quebec? OMG.

      They held an F1 race in Montreal. The winner was just some guy trying to get home after work.

      1. Velv Silver badge
        Coat

        "Ever been to Quebec? OMG."

        Surely not OMG. OMD perhaps if it's Quebec

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If he was using it as a watch he would have glanced at it to get the time"

      While I don't disagree with your comment, how many cars lack clocks nowadays? And how many cars - at least of the level that Apple users are likely to buy - lack handsfree? I imagine most El Reg readers don't need to take a hand off the wheel to answer a call.

      1. DarkWalker

        Re: "If he was using it as a watch he would have glanced at it to get the time"

        Mine lacks a clock. But I can ask any of my portable devices to speak the time aloud.

        BTW, I currently use my Android tablet to play music in my car. The difference is that I control it with a generic, very cheap Bluetooth device that has all controls I might need while driving (next track, previous track, play/pause, and volume control) as nice, large buttons I can find by touch without having to glance. Think media controls on the steering wheel without having to pay extra for that.

      2. Deryk Barker

        Re: "If he was using it as a watch he would have glanced at it to get the time"

        Handsfree is just as distracting and dangerous, as studies have shown.

        It's a pity that many jurisdictions have knuckled under the the driving lobbies and not banned these as well.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "If he was using it as a watch he would have glanced at it to get the time"

          "Handsfree is just as distracting and dangerous,as studies have shown."

          More distracting than talking with a passenger?

          More distracting than having 3 screaming children in the back of the car?

          I would argue your hands are on the wheel with a hands free, so of course it will be less dangerous than holding a phone to your ear, that is just logical....

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: "If he was using it as a watch he would have glanced at it to get the time"

            "

            "Handsfree is just as distracting and dangerous,as studies have shown."

            More distracting than talking with a passenger?"

            Yes. There is a situation-disconnect when the other person isn't in the vehicle also. They give no feedback to your speed, the other traffic, the lane you just crossed into...

            To look at it another way, do you think that it's more distracting to use a mobile phone than it is to talk to a passenger whilst holding your ear?

    4. MrXavia

      If you fail to notice a cop car behind you while driving, even with its blues off, then your probably not paying enough attention to the road..

      But who would use their watch to control the music on their phone while driving? Surely that is what the in-car controls do? and anyone who can afford to waste money on an iWatch can surely afford a half decent car!

      I use my phone for music also, I just use my in car controls to skip tracks and I choose the play list before I drive off...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proof positive...

    ...that there are millions of braindead zombies on the roadways.

  4. Joe User
    Holmes

    What an idiot....

    Rule #1 when driving: Pay attention to the road and the vehicles around you. All other considerations are a far-distant second.

    1. J Bourne

      Re: What an idiot....

      Rule #1 - When you see a cop car behind you - be squeaky clean!

      The argument is that even knowing a cop car was behind him, even not knowing the exact rules governing writs-jobs whilst driving. The cop car observing you trumps all - Just drive and keep your hands visible on the wheel (unless you need to change gear on a manual gearbox). Don't prod any button at all!

      Rule #2 - Pay attention to the most hazardous thing likely to cross your path.

      Rule #2 should really be equal to rule #1 as if you fail rule #2 in front of the coppers you're gonna get pulled anyway.

  5. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

    This is the kind of a guy who made the automobile people think of hydraulic brakes

    "There’s trouble ahead

    Trouble that may or may not be a signal 30

    What will we find?

    A minor mishap or will we look upon the stark face of death?"

  6. The Axe

    The law is an ass

    Proof that the law is an ass and can't keep up with changes in technology. The law doesn't keep up with changes in society either. Best keep laws as minimal and general as possible.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The law is an ass

      "Best keep laws as minimal and general as possible."

      The downside of that is no one knows what the law is until you get to court. Taken to the extreme we could end up with "doing something wrong is against the law, everything else is ok". Now we just need 300 volumes of thick leather bound books to define "wrong". We could call it something short and snappy like, oh, I dunno, case law?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The law is an ass

        The fascinating part is that we civilians are required to know all of that case law as ignorance of the law is no excuse. Even the best lawyers have armies of interns/associates to know what parts are applicable to just one case.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: The law is an ass

          "we civilians are required to know all of that case law as ignorance of the law is no excuse."

          Absolutely. I suspect that someone with the time, money and inclination could make a good case for disproving that in court simply by asking the judge a few obscure but relevant questions on the law and demonstrating that even a "pro" is ignorant of much of UK law.

      2. DrBobMatthews

        Re: The law is an ass

        The law is not always an ass. Some of the time it is there to protect the majority from moronic little prats who consider playing with their toys is more important than concentrating on safe driving. This sad idiot should never have been issued with a driving licence. I bet he can't wait to get his hands on a driverless car!

  7. EJ

    What an idiot

    His "life" of enjoying his toy does not trump someone's right to hold onto their life rather than die because he can't keep his eyes focused on the road. I would like to see those convicted of texting while driving or other e-distractions be charged with attempted manslaughter, as that is what they are doing, they are knowingly putting others at great risk due to their inattention. At the very least, it should result in license suspensions of significant time.

  8. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    It seems to me that this is one of those like yesterday's story of the insurance company suing a hospital for not keeping patient data secure. Raise the premium to cover the increased costs of paying out for fools who can't keep their eyes on the road or sue them to recoup any payout incured when said fool causes an accident.

  9. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Pirate

    bad shit

    A local lad was killed just because he tried to open a bar of candy while driving too fast. A friend of mine was the first at the scene and had to hold the boy's brain in. This is not a good outcome for anyone. We have all had lapses of attention but please don't play with your shiny thing when driving.

    1. JP19

      Re: bad shit

      "was killed just because he tried to open a bar of candy"

      Nope he was killed because he was an idiot - the candy bar was just a symptom.

      At least the gene pool is a little improved.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: bad shit

        > At least the gene pool is a little improved.

        I'm sure the lad's parents will take solace in that fact.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm sure the lad's parents will take solace in that fact.

          If they had done their job properly he'd have realised that driving a motor vehicle is a major responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Ultimately it's probably society's fault, I suppose ...

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: bad shit

      So was it the candy bar or driving too fast?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: bad shit

        "So was it the candy bar or driving too fast?"

        Both. It was a sugar rush.

  10. John 104

    Pathetic

    "This is my life," he said. "Its products have really helped me."

    Time to get a real life my friend...

  11. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Driving? PAY ATTENTION TO DRIVING!!!

    ""It's not so much handheld. It's a watch. You know, it's on my wrist. That's where it gets controversial. It's like, 'Is it? Is it not?' but I think this needs to be talked about," he said."

    OK, let's talk about it. You are driving? PAY ATTENTION TO DRIVING!!! Discussion over. Good job on the po' for giving you a ticket.

    More generally, this is a good reason why I have thought "cell phone use while driving" or "texting while driving" statutes are a bad idea - not because I think either one is a good idea in any way, but because I figured knobs like this guy would say (depending on how the statute is worded) "Oh I'm not holding it it's strapped to my wrist" or "That's a music player not a phone" or whatever. Also, there are those people who think they should turn around to stare their kids around while they chew them out (luckily I've not seen this in real life). I favor enforcement of a general "distracted driving" statute.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Driving? PAY ATTENTION TO DRIVING!!!

      " I favor enforcement of a general "distracted driving" statute."

      We have one in the UK: Driving without due care and attention

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Driving? PAY ATTENTION TO DRIVING!!!

        Yes, but "Driving without due care and attention" means a court case and all the related palaver that goes with it. These more specific laws are fine and points on the spot issued by a wannabe Judge Dredd.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Driving? PAY ATTENTION TO DRIVING!!!

          5 people who don't understand the law? Colour me surprised.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Driving? PAY ATTENTION TO DRIVING!!!

            " 5 people who don't understand the law? Colour me surprised."

            As the original poster you replied to, I actually upvoted you for your clarification.

            I guess I don't know how to use the internet properly, as apparently I should have downvoted you, and questioned your mothers morals, for daring to make a reply that wasn't in 100% agreement!

        2. rh587 Silver badge

          Re: Driving? PAY ATTENTION TO DRIVING!!!

          "These more specific laws are fine"

          These more specific laws are not fine, because they gave him a penalty for using a "hand-held device that contained a telephone", when in fact the device he was using was neither hand-held, nor contained a telephone...

          Whatever his personal failings as a driver, he hasn't actually broken the law as enacted.

          He's definitely in for a due-care-and-attention charge if they have such a law available, but the Police can't just redefine words to suit their purpose - where hand-held now means anything attached, worn or in the general vicinity of your body, and telephone means a computer peripheral!

          The courts exist exactly to curtail the Police when they attempt to ignore creatively interpret the law as written.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Driving? PAY ATTENTION TO DRIVING!!!

            "These more specific laws are not fine,"

            I never said they were. You quoted me out of context. I said they were "fine AND POINTS" on the spot as opposed to having to appear in court on a charge of driving without due care and attention.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Driving? PAY ATTENTION TO DRIVING!!!

      Shortly after getting my first mobile phone, I took a call while driving in heavy traffic on the M62.This was long before it was made illegal to use a phone while driving. After about 2 minutes, I ended the call and was horrified to realise I had no idea what was going on around the car. I normally look as far ahead of the car as I can see and regularly scan mirrors to always have full situational awareness. While I was on that call, I had just been staring at the car in front. I decided then that I wouldn't use a phone while driving. No call is that important. I now put the phone out of reach and just check missed messages when I stop.

      I can only assume that anyone who claims that using a phone doesn't affect their driving:

      1. Is lying

      2. Has a brain that works very differently to mine.

      3. Always drives with no SA and just permanently stares at the car in front of them

      1. J Bourne

        Re: Driving? PAY ATTENTION TO DRIVING!!!

        " 3. Always drives with no SA and just permanently stares at the car in front of them"

        All the C**ks in VAG cars have situational awareness - The situation normally being one of ; I'm not going fast enough; How fast can enter that roundabout/junction and prevent anyone else waiting from pulling out; I'm too far away from the vehicle in front - must get within a single car length; I'm late for work - but I won't be by the time I get there; I'm late getting home - and that's more important than anyone else's day; I'm late, I'm late .....

        Then I'm sure there's a few that the only thing going through there heads is 'Vroooom.........parp parp' (just like toad). And all those beeps and bright flashy lights are in celebration of their awesomeness....

  12. martinusher Silver badge

    Can't wait for the "but the car is automatic" defense

    I have little time for distracted drivers because I ride motorcycles and they're one of the principal hazards we face. Even so I think that trying to legislate technology is going to cause problems. The mere fact that the law in this case refers to a 'telephone' shows what trouble they're in -- his watch isn't a telephone, its a computer peripheral.

    Now cars are getting intelligent, in part to compensate for our momentary lapses in concentration, there's a further complication because the watch could be said to be a peripheral of the car. We may not be communicating with it by looking at it -- if its an iWatch it will use haptics to give us directions -- but we're still interacting with it. The car could also be said to be a telephone device, especially as new cars in Europe are going to be equipped with automatic emergency call originating capability.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Can't wait for the "but the car is automatic" defense

      "The car could also be said to be a telephone device, especially as new cars in Europe are going to be equipped with automatic emergency call originating capability."

      I dunno what car you drive but I don't think holding on to the steering wheel would class your car as a hand held telephone device, although a sufficiently creative prosecution might try.

      1. John McCallum

        Re: Can't wait for the "but the car is automatic" defense

        He doesn't read the first sentence again, He rides a MOTORCYCLE as do I, and I totally agree with him

        1. Pookietoo

          Re: He doesn't

          You seem to be assuming that motorcyclists don't drive cars, I'm fairly sure that many of them do.

      2. rh587 Silver badge

        Re: Can't wait for the "but the car is automatic" defense

        "I dunno what car you drive but I don't think holding on to the steering wheel would class your car as a hand held telephone device, although a sufficiently creative prosecution might try."

        If they're going to use a "hand-held device" ban to prosecute someone for operating a smart watch - which clearly isn't a hand-held device (nor contains a telephone), then I would say your odds of prosecuting for car-phones are really quite good, based on the fact the steering wheel clearly is a hand-held device, and the car clearly does contain a telephone.

        I hope he gets off, not because I have any sympathy for him, but because the law is shit - I can fuck around with my fitbit (which doesn't have any telephony function whatsoever) to my heart's content, but in the eyes of the law that's less distracting than the equivalent iWatch, or gazing down at the touch screen embedded in the centre console? Give me a break.

        You can't prosecute someone for operating a handheld telephone when the thing they were operating was neither handheld, or a telephone! That's akin to prosecuting for someone driving without a license when they do in fact have a license... You're just ignoring the law as written and making it up as you go along.

        He needs to be prosecuted, but under a due-care-and-attention law. Of course they won't actually rewrite the law to address the realities of "in-car-entertainment" in 2015, they'll just hurry through an amendment that clumsily attempts to define smart watches and ignores the broader problem - such as the factory-fit distractions and the rest!

        1. kbensch

          Re: Can't wait for the "but the car is automatic" defense

          I hope he goes to jail. People like him kill others while being distracted by devices like this.

  13. Sebby
    Joke

    I knew it was just a question of time ...

    >>> CTV spoke to Avi Levy, a lawyer specialising in fighting cases involving traffic violations. "I knew it was just a question of time before we got a case like this, but it definitely won't be the last," he said, noting that the wording of the Quebec Highway Safety Code does not explicitly forbid smart watches.

    I thought he said it was for controlling media playback. Not checking the time.

  14. Six_Degrees

    When you're driving, you should pay attention to...driving. Not fucking around with your toys.

    A second offense ought to land him in jail for a couple of weeks.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better testing required

    Anyone who has or desires a driver's license should be tested to see how long they can go without using their cellphone or other electronic device. If you can't go at least 24 hours without one of these electronic toys, you don't get a license. If you are an Apple fanbois you should never be allowed to operate a motorized vehicles as you are a danger to society.

  16. Adam Jarvis

    So will Apple apply a bit of taptic touch on Quebec?.

    Given the bad press for Apple Watch 'hands free' in-car use, wondering if Apple have any means of closing a few factories, putting off a few store openings in the regiion of Quebec.

    Seems the way of Big Biz of late, when things aren't to their liking, applying a bit of taptic touch (pressure) lovingly.

  17. system11

    I can't work out which is the most pitiful. Being stupid enough to think that this is reasonable in the first place, or trying to contest the fact that it isn't?

    1. J Bourne

      And here I was trying work out whether people actually believe that laws are strictly interpreted to the letter of the written statute. I believe that in Canada as in the UK law and especially the intent of the law is interpreted by the courts - The actual law is test-case law not statute. If a judge (the last one to be appealed to) of a sufficiently high stature decides that the intent olf the law would have been to cover wrist mounted devices as well if only the statute writers had crystal balls to think of it, then he'll find as if the handheld clause was breached which would set precedent for further cases. The phone part of statute is even clearer - 'Phone function' The iwatch does have a phone function albeit proxied from the owners/users actual phone. Would be much simpler if the offence was 'being an idiot in a car directly in front of a uniformed police officer/patrol'....

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