Feeds

Yes: You CAN use your phone as a satnav while driving – appeals court

California judges rip up bloke's $165 ticket after two-year legal battle

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

An appeals court in California has told drivers they can view maps on a smartphone while driving.

The ruling was handed down on Thursday by the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, in Fresno – and reverses an earlier case against a man, Steven Spriggs, who was given a ticket for looking at a map on his mobe.

California driving law states [PDF] that: "It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communication device to write, send, or read text messages, instant messages, and emails unless you are 18 years of age or older and using an electronic wireless communications device designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to text-based communications when operating a vehicle."

Under this interpretation of the law, Spriggs had been given a $165 fine in January 2012: while stopped in heavy traffic, Spriggs pulled out his phone in his vehicle to check a map app for a new route. But he was spotted by a California Highway Patrol cop, who issued him a ticket for violating Vehicle Code section 23123.

The driver challenged the ticket in traffic court and lost, then tried again in Fresno County Superior Court, where he lost again. After that Spriggs took his fight to the appellate court, which ultimately sided with him, reversing the judgment.

"Based on the legislative history of section 23123 and the statute's language, as well as the Legislature’s subsequent enactments of sections 23123.5 and 23124, we conclude that section 23123(a) does not prohibit all hand-held uses of a wireless telephone. Instead, it prohibits 'listening and talking' on the wireless telephone unless the telephone is used in a hands-free mode," the court wrote in its decision [PDF].

"Accordingly, Spriggs did not violate the statute when he held his cellular telephone in his hand and looked at a map application while driving and his conviction must be reversed."

Though Californians may breathe a sigh of relief at the opinion as it provides them protection against over-enthusiastic cops, there's already trouble brewing for adopters of a succeeding technology, Google Glass.

In October a woman was pulled over and cited for wearing the expensive techno-goggles while driving, but the ticket was dismissed in January on the grounds the device wasn't switched on at the time.

Still, seven US states are investigating a ban of wearable computers while driving due to safety concerns. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.