California Judge Rules Smartphone Map Use While Driving is Illegal
Tagged: automobile accident, car accident, distracted driving, hands free listening and talking, smartphone GPS, texting while driving
According to the Huffington Post, the best way to get out of a ticket for using your smartphone while driving is to tell the officer that you needed its map program to get directions. But that excuse will no longer work in California. An appeals court has held that any hands-on use of a phone violates California’s texting-while-driving statute — including using your phone as a GPS.
Defendant Steven Spriggs argued that he should not have received a ticket for texting while driving because he was only using his phone as a GPS. The judge determined that using a phone app that allows it to function as a navigation system fits within the definition of SB1613, which prohibits using a phone “unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.” However, many disagree with the decision, since touching a navigation system that is built into the car does not violate the law.
There is no question that distracted driving is serious problem on California’s roads, and that anything that distracts you from your main focus is a potential danger. If you want to use your smartphone as a GPS, get a cradle to hold the device and program it before you start your trip. While the distinction between a smartphone-based GPS and a built-in one may seem dubious, if you have been injured in a car accident by a distracted driver, it does not really matter what the distraction was — you are still suffering as a result.