A recent ruling in California prohibits drivers from using mapping apps like Google Maps while driving. This occurred after a man was caught checking his smartphone for directions.
Section 23123 of the California Vehicle Code bans voice calling and text
messaging 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
was not included in the ban on calling or texting while driving law.
The 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 a phone. That distraction is 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.”
The law is not BAN the possession or use of GPS devices or smartphone navigation apps. Instead, it bans the use of such devices "while driving." They can be used, but only if they are mounted somewhere for drivers to keep their hands away from them. Voice-activated and/or Bluetooth devices (hands-free) are legal and acceptable.
Thus far, Arizona has not seen fit to pass similar laws to ban these practices. Our legislators believe that the present laws that exist are sufficient to control these activities while driving.
In my opinion and experience, our legislators are delusional on this issue. Multiple attempts to pass laws on these issues have unfortunately failed.
Our hope is that Arizona wakes up sometime soon, and passes a law to prohibit some of these bad habits. A car accident in Arizona is no different regardless if someone is using their phone for texting, or looking for directions. Arizona needs to look into this issue much closer, before bad habits become worse.