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Get lost, drivers: Google Maps is not for you – US judge

California clamps down on furtive fingering

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Checking Google Maps has been placed on the list of things you're not allowed to do while at the wheel – at least in the US.

A court in California has ruled that accessing a GPS app on a mobile phone while driving is illegal.

In January last year, plods pulled over Steven R. Spriggs and slapped him with a charge of driving while using a mobile phone. Rather than admit guilt like the 425,041 other people who were caught in the state for the same crime last year, Spriggs decided to launch an appeal.

But Judge W. Kent Hamlin wasn't having any of it, insisting that the law states that using a mobile phone in any way is liable to distract drivers.

In his ruling, 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 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."

So next time you're lost in the States, ask a policeman for directions, since being really, really good at multitasking while at the wheel is unlikely to be a valid defence. ®

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