If you live in California, you are undoubtedly aware by now that it is against the law for you to do almost anything while you are driving except, well, drive. It is illegal for you to talk on the phone while you are driving, and no surprise to anyone, it’s also illegal to text anyone while you are driving. (I should add that it’s only illegal to do those activities if you’re not using a hands-free device).
Many people have been caught unaware by this law in California. Take Steven Spriggs for example. In January of 2012, he was caught in a traffic jam and decided to use the maps feature on his smartphone in hopes of finding a different route to take. While he was looking at his phone, an officer from the California Highway Patrol caught him and gave him a ticket for using his phone without a hands-free device. Spriggs didn’t feel he should have to pay the ticket as he wasn’t texting or talking while driving, and he decided to fight it in court. Several times. As a result, we can now say that until they change the law in California, drivers can use their smartphone maps while they’re driving.
As Of Today, It Is Fine To “Map And Drive”
Spriggs contested his ticket and lost. He then appealed the court’s decision and lost again. Finally, he went all the way to the District Court of Appeals and at long last received a verdict in his favor. The court stated that while it’s clearly illegal to talk or text while driving without a hands-free device, the law doesn’t specifically outlaw using your phone for other purposes, such as looking at your map.
So, even though Spriggs got out of his ticket and took a stand, California’s law may be changing in the future to include using apps without a hands-free device. Would anyone really be surprised if that ended up happening?
[Image via DigitalTrends]