California Appeals Court rules that using mobile maps while driving isn’t illegal


In what appears to be a very crucial ruling, the California Appeals Court has claimed that using of smartphone guided maps or navigation while driving cannot be classified under ‘distracted driving’. This comes after a user named Steven Spriggs was booked and given a $165 ticket for using his iPhone 4 to look for an alternative route while stuck in a busy traffic jam.

Here’s an excerpt from the ruling:

“The 5th District Court of Appeal reversed the case of a Fresno man who was ticketed in January 2012 for looking at a map on his iPhone 4 while stuck in traffic. The driver, Steven Spriggs, challenged the $165 fine and won.

Spriggs was caught up by road work and grabbed his cellphone to find an alternate route when a California Highway Patrol officer on a motorcycle spotted him and stopped him to write the ticket.”

Since each state in the U.S. has a law of its own, this new ruling will only apply to California. It will now depend on the State Legislators to make amendments to the existing ‘distracted driving’ laws. Hopefully, this will serve as a precedent for other states as well. Unfortunately, these laws don’t have specific exemptions for the exact nature of smartphone use whilst driving. Using a hands free device is allowed and within the law, but looking at your smartphone is not, even though the user isn’t texting or doing something trivial. So the authorities are expected to look into this matter seriously to avoid any such instances in the future.

[ABC News via Macrumors]