A California appellate court has ruled that holding a smartphone to use Google Maps or any other GPS service constitutes distracted driving. Drivers can therefore be ticketed as if they were texting and driving. Simply holding your phone while driving can get you a ticket, even if you’re not using it to talk, text, or navigate.
The decision stemmed from a court case where a man was using his iPhone to search for an alternate route after becoming stuck in a traffic jam. The driver was issued a $160 ticket by a CHP officer. When he appealed, the court decided that the root problem is the distraction of having a phone in their hands while operating a vehicle. The court ruled that distracted driving can happen whether the phone is being used as a phone, a messaging system, or even a clock.
Drivers can still use GPS devices as long as they are programmed before driving and are out of reach of the driver. Drivers can also utilize devices with voice-activated controls.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Police in California will continue to crack down on cellphone usage while driving, and they have already issued tens of thousands of citations across the state. The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker urges drivers to be safe on the roadway – please don’t text and drive. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact us today at (800) 333-0000.