California’s Ban on Texting while Driving Extends to Navigation

April 9, 2013  - By 0 Comments

californiamap-bearflagSteve Spriggs was cited for holding his smartphone in his hand using it for navigation while driving. California code 23123 reads, “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.” Spriggs  fought the ticket, saying the law does not apply to looking at maps.

But a judge of the appellate court said holding a phone to look at a map is distracted driving — the same as sending a text message — and the law applies.  “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 emails. This case requires us to determine whether using a wireless phone solely for its map application function while driving violates Vehicle Code section 23123. We hold that it does. “

The National Safety Council has noted that there is no research or evidence that indicates voice-activated technologies eliminate or even reduce the distraction to the drivers’ mind.

Janice Partyka

About the Author:

Janice Partyka is principal of JGP Services, www.jgpservices.net, a consulting practice that helps companies with marketing strategy, including investigating new markets, ensuring product roadmaps match market needs, and creating marketing campaigns. Janice develops websites, social media, public relations and overall marketing communication. She also works as an expert witness for the mobile industry and conducts prior art searches for patent cases. Janice has served in leadership capacities in the wireless industry, leading marketing, business development, media and government relations, including serving as vice president of external affairs for TechnoCom Corporation. She briefed the Obama transition team on broadband issues. Janice was a twice-elected member of the board of directors of the E9-1-1 Institute, which supports the work of the U.S. Congressional E9-1-1 Caucus to ensure implementation of wireless E9-1-1, and she was telecom liaison to the Intelligent Transportation Society's World Congress. Janice is a frequent speaker at mobile and location industry events. Her webinars on mobile applications and technologies draw audiences from more than 40 countries. Janice Partyka is also the founder of www.majorstocareers.com, a web service that helps college students find the right major that will lead to a satisfying career. Contact: Janice Partyka at jpartyka@jgpservices.net, www.jgpservices.net. Free subscriptions to Wireless LBS Insider are available at http://www.gpsworld.com/subscriptions.

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