Driver Cell Phone Ban in California Includes Map Apps

Driver Cell Phone Ban in California Includes Map Apps

Is using at a smartphone map application as distracting as text, talk, and email? It depends.

A California judge recently reaffirmed that by ruling that a section of the California Vehicle Code banning cell phone use while driving applies to restricting drivers from holding their phones and using the GPS maps functions. In January, 2012, Steven Spriggs (not pictured) was cited for using his cell phone, but challenged the ticket because he was using the device for driving directions.

But it isn’t illegal, for example, to use the turn-by-turn feature on a iPhone’s maps application; just to poke at the screen to change something. So mounting the phone somewhere and using it like a standalone unit from TomTom or Garmin is OK, but drivers in California also need to bring the car to a complete stop before altering the route.

That also raises new questions. Is it illegal to touch an in-car GPS screen to move the map? How could that possibly be enforced? Manufacturers are increasingly turning to touch screens for in-vehicle controls. Will those be illegal to use soon too?

[Source: Digital Trends]