California Rules Smartphone Use for Navigation is Legal

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

California was one of the first states in the U.S. to prohibit using a smartphone while driving, and now it has ruled that it is legal to use mobile devices to check maps.

Steven Spriggs was pulled over in the state of California while using his iPhone to look at his maps app while stuck in traffic. As a result, Spriggs received a $165 ticket as the officer interpreted it as using a smartphone while driving. According to the judge overseeing the case, the law specifically applies to “listening and talking” on a smartphone while driving.

The ruling also stated that the officer’s interpretation and that of lower courts is too broad and could bring “absurd results,” such as making it a “statutory violation for a driver to merely look at the telephone’s display.”

The decision helps narrow the state’s interpretation of the law and what can and can’t be done on a smartphone while driving.

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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