California judge says drivers cannot check maps on their handset while driving; all excuses are now shot down

California judge says drivers cannot check maps on their handset while driving; all excuses are now shot down
In some states where talking on a cellphone is prohibited while driving, those pulled over by the cops used to get away with the excuse that they weren't in a conversation, they were just checking the map on their phone. Now this would work depending on how knowledgeable the cop who pulled you over was. Tell the officer that you were using Apple Maps and he might have requested a psychological evaluation for you. Heck, in Florida, using Apple Maps might have led the cop to 'Baker Act' you (Google it).

Seriously though, using the excuse that you were using a mapping application in the past would have helped you escape a ticket for operating a cell phone while driving. It seems that while the police hate distracted drivers, they hate lost drivers wandering around their fair city even more. A judge in California has changed things and might have set a precedent for future cases. Judge W. Kent Hamlin has just made a ruling that in California drivers cannot do anything with their cell phone while driving a car. The case involved one Steven Spriggs who had been ticketed by the popo and appealed saying that he should not have been cited for using the cellphone while driving for something other than receiving or making a call. Spriggs had claimed that he was using his phone's mapping application while driving.   

The judge made his ruling simple and to the point. "This case requires us to determine whether using a wireless phone solely for its map application function while driving violates Vehicle Code section 23123.1 We hold that it does." The judge broadened the scope of the law by noting that distracted driving is distracted driving regardless if the driver is making a call or using a mapping application, sending or receiving texts or even using the phone for navigation. He asked himself if the original founding fathers of this great nation those who wrote the bill or supported it meant to limit its application. In his ruling, the judge decided that the law was meant to cover all distractions. Judgment for the plaintiff. Whack. We wonder what Judge Judy would think.

source: PCMag

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44 Comments

1. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

This law is about three things: revenue, revenue, revenue.

6. Timmehor

Posts: 599; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

The law is also about three more things: safety, safety, safety.

17. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

if that was true then why do we get fines if its about safety why not take his licence off him for a week

28. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Because if you ground the driver, it's tougher to get a repeat fine from him. If you give him a fine, them out him back on the road, there's a chance you can ticket him for something else, and get more revenue.

24. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

No, it isn't. How is taking on a phone more dangerous than taking to a passenger? How is holding a phone any more dangerous than holding a soda? If this we're truly about safety, it wouldn't be a simple fine. There would be true consequences. This law was written ONLY to create revenue. Texting while driving? Yes, absolutely dangerous. Dialing? Yep. Simply talking? No.

33. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

100% agreed +1 Ted.

39. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

uhm lets see taking a phone requires your full attention when you use you stare at the screen you use one hand to operate it. while taking a passanger sits next you and talks to you at the most. and oh yeah lets f**k*n put everyone that breaks the road law in jail that will solve everything fines discourages you from breaking the law that's why it's there you do it more than once then comes more consquences what does these things have anything to do with banning using maps

43. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Hey, genius - I said that dialing while driving was dangerous. Talking on the phone does not require looking at the phone. I requires no more distraction than talking to a passenger. The law doesn't say that dialing the phone is illegal, it says that talking is. The cop doesn't need to see you dialing while driving, only talking. Not even talking - just holding a phone up to your ear. Which, again, is no more distracting than changing a radio channel. Which brings us back to the central point - these laws are not passed for safety, they are passed to create revenue streams. Period.

45. Timmehor

Posts: 599; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

That's your opinion. Period. :)

7. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Yes and no. Somehow, I suspect that ole Steven was using his cellular as a phone jammed up against his ear. There is an exception: 23123. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving. Note the part of the section that starts with "...unless that telephone is specifically designed..." Most every smartphone I know of is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking.

32. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Safety is a must though Ted, even though you're right about revenue. These laws are set in a way that allows the driver to shoot his or herself in their own foot. Obey and be safe, break it and add to the revenue stream.

44. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Except this is supposed to be the land of the free. Our government isn't supposed to be setting us up to "shoot ourselves in the foot" to create more revenue for them to spend. Look at what most police departments do these days - traffic and drugs. Why? Because those are money makers. Call the cops to tell them your house has been robbed, and you know what will happen? They will take a statement, and that's it. If your items happen to fall into their laps by accident, you might get them back. But there will be no investigation once they leave your premises. Because finding your stolen items brings in zero revenue. I have been at council meetings where the councilmen complain that the cops aren't writing enough tickets, not bringing in enough revenue. "To protect and serve" has become "to collect(revenue) and serve(fines)".

46. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Damn that's deep bro. You're rite too

2. LDC207X

Posts: 28; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

I never thought that talking on your phone looks like your using maps. Whenever I see a person talking on their phone i just assume there using the GPS.

4. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

if the phone was attached to the car and in the map view, i would not consider it as distracting drivers while driving. but guiding drivers as the phone will be considered as a navigation device, or a digital map. as long as the driver is not holding the phone while driving. but operating it in hand, thats a different story. you should pull over first before using the phone

23. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

You hit the nail on the head. If GPS devices are allowed, using a phone as a GPS is allowed. Setting a destination while driving, that's a different story.

5. clevername

Posts: 1436; Member since: Jul 11, 2008

Hmmm... I wonder if this ruling can actually set the precedent for making all use of a smartphone illegal in California. I wonder this but cause as of January 1st this year, a new law here in California made it perfectly legal to text while driving as long as some sort of voice to text functionality was being used. Also, the law states that speaking through a hands free wired or wireless component is legal as well. so this judges ruling seems to contradict 2 previously enacted laws. I know when a supreme court judge makes a ruling it can be used as precedent to change laws. But it never says this judge is a supreme court judge. the ruling also states "when using ones hands" so does that mean voice guided turn by turn navigation is ok?

10. TheMan

Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Precedents are not limited to Supreme Court decisions. Also, it sounds like the judge was debating which is the overriding factor, the letter or the spirit of the law. He seems to favor the latter, i.e., distracted drivers can be lethal and phones can distract in a multitude of ways, not just by talking or texting (that's the truth!) The law specifies "hands-free" device. If he wanted to use it for navigation and not get pulled over, he should use a navigation mount.

40. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

it's using maps as in holding your phones in your hand scrolling around the map with your hand voice guided turn by turn is ok

8. BadAssAbe

Posts: 508; Member since: Apr 22, 2011

So I can't use my driving apps anymore? So, many rules to protect ourselves form ourselves. Please let natural selection take its course faster for all mankind

13. Timmehor

Posts: 599; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

Yes, let people crash and hurt each other for little reasons. Yesssss. Natural Selection isn't about who survives a car crash from an idiot too busy on their mobile phone.

9. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

That's why we must use Google Now, That's why we must use S Voice, That's why we must use Siri. (Just say a command, and WALLA!. The Map appears!) Using these will prevent accidents, we are protected with Safety.......Safety........Safety........

11. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

It's not spelled "WALLA", it's 'Voila'...lol. But according to me, anything that takes the concentration out of the drivers view of the road and mind is a distraction.

12. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Eh? "WALLA" is wrong? And what's so difficult to say a command, we have 2 eyes and 1 mouth, we can concentrate on driving and saying a command at the same time. :) It's very simple, c'est très simple.

14. Timmehor

Posts: 599; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

Fun fact: Humans cannot actually multitask. Our brain just quickly switches and jumps from each task. Car crashes can be fatal, and there is no way of fixing that :) So lets not risk it, keep our eyes/mind on the road. Why can't we just set the GPS when getting in? But voice commands are probably the safest alternative.

16. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

The best thing is buying an expensive car, with touch screen GPS Navigation built in the radio, with voice command. OH, WHAT ON EARTH AM I TALKING ABOUT? By the way, I agree with you. For more simple and safety, we can just buy a Garmin GPS Navigation unit. There, just waste a hundred dollar and we can begin our journey. :)

19. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Yes, the spelling is wrong but the way you say it is similar. If you spell it the way they say it, literally, it will spell somewhat like "Vwala(h)". There are tasks which humans can do together like you can sing and cook...you can run and talk, but when you do something with your right hand and try a totally different thing with your left, they will either try to synchronize, or you'll mess it up. Not saying there are none that can multitask, there are certain humans that are gifted to multitask. Not everyone is 'that' gifted :)

37. Timmehor

Posts: 599; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

Why are we arguing about how to say " Vwalah" to "Wallah". This is PhoneArena god dammit. XD

42. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

There's so much correction going on, i'm entitled to one, atleast, lol. I get distracted when i read someone type a word wrong, might not make sense to you, i'm just doing myself a favor, :D

25. tedkord

Posts: 17456; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

All of those still require a button push, ie. not hands free. The only reason hands free is allowed is that it's impossible for cops to tell. If they could find a way of monetizing that, hands free would be illegal, too.

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