Drivers may use smartphones for maps: court

Feb 28, 2014
A California appeals court has tossed out a fine for a driver checking a smartphone map to escape traffic, offering a new interpretation in the crackdown on "distracted driving"

A California appeals court has tossed out a fine for a driver checking a smartphone map to escape traffic, offering a new interpretation in the crackdown on "distracted driving."

A panel of judges reasoned that the summons and its $165 fine applied to holding mobile phones to converse while driving and said nothing of looking at maps on screens for directions.

"We conclude that the statute means what it says—it prohibits a driver only from holding a wireless telephone while conversing on it," the appellate court said in a written ruling available online Friday.

"Consequently, we reverse his conviction."

The driver was sitting in congested traffic when a California Highway Patrol officer noticed him using his smartphone. In a subsequent appearance in court, both the officer and motorist testified he was using a smartphone map service.

The driver was found guilty and ordered to pay a fine, then appealed the case.

The ruling in the state that is home to Silicon Valley came as laws and informal codes of conduct are under pressure to adapt to lifestyles in which mobile devices let people be connected to the Internet almost anywhere.

Any potential precedent set by the ruling would be legally limited to California but has the potential to effect how traffic laws are shaped or interpreted in other parts of the country.

Explore further: Federal appeals court to review Texas abortion law

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Judge's word on NSA program won't be the last

Dec 17, 2013

A federal judge is making headlines by declaring that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records is likely unconstitutional. But even he realizes his won't be the last word on the issue. ...

Recommended for you

What's PayPal's first solo move?

8 hours ago

PayPal's impending split from long-time partner eBay Inc. will ratchet up its appeal to online retail competitors such as Amazon.com and give it the freedom to aggressively take on new mobile pay challeng ...

AOL to feed more video, news to Microsoft's MSN

13 hours ago

AOL will provide Microsoft's MSN with more video and additional news stories from popular sites such as The Huffington Post and TechCrunch in an expansion of a deal aimed at selling more digital advertising.

Microsoft to tap $2-trillion Indian cloud market

17 hours ago

Microsoft announced plans Tuesday to offer its commercial cloud services from Indian data centres as it seeks to tap what it calls a $2-trillion market in the country where Internet use is growing rapidly.

User comments : 0