California Law To Ban Google Maps For Drivers?

Driving With Cellphone 1 photo
Photo: pr.berkman via Flickr
A recent ruling in California bans drivers from using mapping apps like Google Maps, after a man was caught while checking his smartphone for directions.
Section 23123 of the California Vehicle Code bans voice calling and typing text messages while driving a car. However, Steven Spriggs challenged a citation for violating the rule during a traffic stop in January 2012. He rejected the accusation as he considered that checking the map application for directions is not included in the banned calling or text typing procedure.

Within the ruling, Superior Court of California Judge W. Kent Hamlin said: “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.”

Therefore, the law is not actually banning the use of GPS devices or smartphone navigation apps. It banns the usage of such devices by holding and manipulating them while driving. They can be used but only if they are mounted somewhere on the dashboard or on the windshield for drivers to keep their hands away from them.
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