In the state of California,fiddling with something like Google Maps while driving is as illegal as texting while driving!Apperntly,people who use map apps while driving are not paying enough attention to the road.What next,banning Angry Birds while driving?
This stupid ruling,which was issued last month,was made more widely know by a Tweet by Orin Kerr. By the way,she’s a Law professor.The ruling says that just handling a cell phone(what people in the U.S.A call Mobile phones),even for using a map app,is every bit as illegal as using a cell phone to make a call or texting.
However,someone has appealed.YAY.Anyway,a man cited under Section 23123 of the California Vehicle Code argued that the section’s language said that its application was limited to drivers who held it while using it to converse.Since the defendant wasn’t using the phone to converse,just using mapping software,he shouldn’t have got a ticket.
“What does the section say?”you might ask.This is what it says:”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.”I’d say,the law was in his favour.
However,Judge W. Kent Hamlin of the Superior Court of California wrote in his report:
Our review of the statute’s plain language leads us to conclude that the primary evil sought to be avoided is the distraction the driver faces when using his or her hands to operate the phone. That distraction would be present whether the wireless telephone was being used as a telephone, a GPS navigator, a clock, or a device for sending and receiving text messages and e-mails.
Hamlin also said that the court reviewed prior versions of the stature to clarify the intent of the law.He also quoted state assembly analysis of the legislation when he wrote that the law is mainly aimed at distractions.
…specifically including “the physical distraction a motorist encounters when either picking up the phone, punching the number keypad, holding the phone up to his or her ear to converse, or pushing a button to end a call.” That distraction would be present whether the phone is used for carrying on a conversation or for some other purpose.
The defendant also argued that an update to the code,the same number above but with a .5 on the end,was geared towards texting on an “electronic wireless communications device.”So,the defendant argued that the earlier section was limited to just talking on a cell phone.Otherwise,why have a whole statue about texting?
However,this being a court,they ruled that the statue was ment to expand the regulations to include more recent devices –stuff like smartphones and PDA– and the older statue had still been “designed to prohibit the ‘hands-on’ use of the phone while driving, without limitation.”
As you may or may not know,many have argued that phones and stuff like that are no more distracting as all load of other things(talking,ect).And for the most part,have been unsucessfull.The ruling acknowledges the position and but that’s a matter for the people who make laws:
It may be argued that the Legislature acted arbitrarily when it outlawed all “hands-on” use of a wireless telephone while driving, even though the legal use of one’s hands to operate myriad other devices poses just as great a risk to the safety of other motorists. It may also be argued that prohibiting driving while using “electronic wireless communications devices” for texting and e-mailing, while acknowledging and failing to prohibit perhaps even more distracting uses of the same devices, is equally illogical and arbitrary. Both arguments should be addressed to the Legislature in support of additional legislation barring any use of those other devices in other than a hands-free manner, or in support of a repeal or amendment of section 23123 to allow the “hands-on” use of wireless telephones for other purposes while driving.
“So what does all of this mean?”you might ask.It means that if you drive in California you should:not use anything like phones;watch where your going and if you get caught,appeal.
Thanks for reading,but for now,