California Appeals Court Rules State Law Doesn't Prohibit Driver Use of Smartphone Maps

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    #1
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    A California appeals court has ruled that a driver cannot be convicted of distracted driving for using a smartphone mapping application under current state law that prohibits the use of talking and texting while driving.

    Because the law is so narrowly tailored -- it prohibits "listening" and talking on a phone without a hands-free device, as well as sending and receiving text-based messages -- it does not specifically apply to using smartphones in other ways.
    It is possible that the California state legislature will address the issue in a future session as the law was likely intended to ban drivers from playing Angry Birds or making changes in a smartphone mapping app while driving, though a strict reading of the law doesn't explicitly make those activities illegal.

    The decision reversed the ruling of a lower appeals court from last year.

    Laws in other states may or may not cover the use of smartphone mapping apps, and this ruling will have no impact in states other than California. In addition, California drivers can still be cited for distracted driving, but could point to this case when fighting their ticket in court.

    Article Link: California Appeals Court Rules State Law Doesn't Prohibit Driver Use of Smartphone Maps
     
  2. macrumors 68030

    macs4nw

    #2
    I'm almost certain that 'vacuum' won't last; too much at stake with lives lost due to distracted driving.

    Having said that, there should be a clear distinction between such cases whether you are driving, or stationary due to traffic lights or construction, etc.
     
  3. macrumors 601

    goobot

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Location:
    long island NY
    #3
    So is there a list of states that do allow it like California?
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    #4
    What issue?
     
  5. macrumors 604

    clayj

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    Location:
    visiting from downstream
    #5
    MOST "distracted driver" laws are idiotic.

    And it's not because distracted driving is OK. The problem is that most of these laws concentrate on SPECIFIC distractions: Texting and e-mailing are NOT OK, but scrolling through your list of contacts to find a number to dial or using a map IS OK? That's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard.

    Here's a simple suggestion: Write a law that says ANY distraction is punishable, IF it causes you to cause or be involved in an accident. I don't care if the distraction is your cellphone, your desire to apply makeup while you are driving, your trying to fish a CD case off the floor on the passenger side, or you turning around because your kids in the backseat are misbehaving -- if you take your hands off the wheel or take your eyes off the road, YOU ARE A DISTRACTED DRIVER.

    So, eyes front and DRIVE.

    ----------

    "No, officer, I wasn't distracted when I caused that accident; I was looking at porn on my iPhone. Pretty sure the law doesn't cover that."
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    joecool99

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    awesome!
    idiotic police giving tickets L and R to substantiate their own meaningless existence!

    MOST cops don't think, he should have moved on, obviously the drives was not endangering the traffic in anyway doing what he did.
     
  7. macrumors 604

    bushido

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    #7
    yep thats how its done over here, you arent allowed to be using your phone while driving no matter what
     
  8. macrumors 68000

    Antares

    #8
    The problem is, how do define "distracted driving?" Most new cars now have built-in GPS. If you glance at the built-in screen, like intended, is that distracted? If you use a phone gps, how is that any different than looking at the built-in screen? How is any of this different than when we had paper maps or printed turn by turn directions? How is manipulating a gps any different than manipulating a radio or other controls on a car?

    The real problem is caused by people texting or talking on the phone, one-handed and not paying attention. But drivers get just as distracted by talking with other people in the car. A mother with her kids can be equally distracted while driving as someone who is texting while driving.

    Where are all the lines drawn?
     
  9. macrumors 65816

    luckydcxx

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2013
    #9
    This isn't gonna fly in NY. The Vehicle and Traffic Law doesn't allow you to use ANY electronic device while driving.

    1225-d. Use of portable electronic devices. 1. Except as otherwise
    provided in this section, no person shall operate a motor vehicle while
    using any portable electronic device while such vehicle is in motion;
    provided, however, that no person shall operate a commercial motor
    vehicle while using any portable electronic device on a public highway
    including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic
    control device, or other momentary delays. Provided further, however,
    that a person shall not be deemed to be operating a commercial motor
    vehicle while using a portable electronic device on a public highway
    when such vehicle is stopped at the side of, or off, a public highway in
    a location where such vehicle is not otherwise prohibited from stopping
    by law, rule, regulation or any lawful order or direction of a police
    officer.
    1-a. No motor carrier shall allow or require its drivers to use a
    portable electronic device while operating a commercial motor vehicle as
    provided in this section.
    2. For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have
    the following meanings:
    (a) "Portable electronic device" shall mean any hand-held mobile
    telephone, as defined by subdivision one of section twelve hundred
    twenty-five-c of this article, personal digital assistant (PDA),
    handheld device with mobile data access, laptop computer, pager,
    broadband personal communication device, two-way messaging device,
    electronic game, or portable computing device, or any other electronic
    device when used to input, write, send, receive, or read text for
    present or future communication.
    (b) "Using" shall mean holding a portable electronic device while
    viewing, taking or transmitting images, playing games, or, for the
    purpose of present or future communication: performing a command or
    request to access a world wide web page, composing, sending, reading,
    viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving e-mail,
    text messages, instant messages, or other electronic data.
    (c) "Commercial motor vehicle" shall have the same meaning as such
    term is defined by subdivision four-a of section two of the
    transportation law.
    (d) "Motor carrier" shall have the same meaning as such term is
    defined by subdivision seventeen of section two of the transportation
    law.
    3. Subdivision one of this section shall not apply to (a) the use of a
    portable electronic device for the sole purpose of communicating with
    any of the following regarding an emergency situation: an emergency
    response operator; a hospital; a physician's office or health clinic; an
    ambulance company or corps; a fire department, district or company; or a
    police department, (b) any of the following persons while in the
    performance of their official duties: a police officer or peace officer;
    a member of a fire department, district or company; or the operator of
    an authorized emergency vehicle as defined in section one hundred one of
    this chapter.
    4. A person who holds a portable electronic device in a conspicuous
    manner while operating a motor vehicle or while operating a commercial
    motor vehicle on a public highway including while temporarily stationary
    because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays
    but not including when such commercial motor vehicle is stopped at the
    side of, or off, a public highway in a location where such vehicle is
    not otherwise prohibited from stopping by law, rule, regulation or any
    lawful order or direction of a police officer is presumed to be using
    such device, except that a person operating a commercial motor vehicle
    while using a portable electronic device when such vehicle is stopped at
    the side of, or off, a public highway in a location where such vehicle
    is not otherwise prohibited from stopping by law, rule, regulation or
    any lawful order or direction of a police officer shall not be presumed
    to be using such device. The presumption established by this subdivision
    is rebuttable by evidence tending to show that the operator was not
    using the device within the meaning of this section.
    5. The provisions of this section shall not be construed as
    authorizing the seizure or forfeiture of a portable electronic device,
    unless otherwise provided by law.
    6. A violation of this section shall be a traffic infraction and
    shall be punishable by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more
    than one hundred fifty dollars upon conviction of a first violation;
    upon conviction of a second violation, both of which were committed
    within a period of eighteen months, such violation shall be punished by
    a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than two hundred dollars;
    upon conviction of a third or subsequent violation, all of which were
    committed within a period of eighteen months, such violation shall be
    punished by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than four
    hundred dollars.
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    #10
    So, I'm totally cool playing words with friends while driving again?

    Awesome.
     
  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    #11
    Your quote doesn't fly for most drivers.

    Your quote is for <em>commercial drivers,</em> NOT most drivers that have a simple class C license.

    I do understand your point. I also wish that those people that have that simple class C license would have to take the tests and go through the training that I had to go through to both get and keep my class A license but that is a topic for another day.

     
  12. macrumors 68020

    JoeG4

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    #12
    You're really not supposed to interact with your GPS while you're driving. Many cars (including mine) have radios that will not let you use certain features if you're driving for that reason.

    Most car companies have tried to make it a little easier with voice commands and steering wheel controls, but yeah.. you're really (in theory) not supposed to be screwing around with your dashboard while driving.

    As for talking to others in the vehicle, the thing is they're also watching where you're going and their lives are at stake, so they're aware of the situation. Driving with kids is a different matter, but somewhat unavoidable unfortunately.

    As far as using the phone while driving, tbh I can't deal with it - the times I happened to have someone on handsfree I didn't pay attention to more than half of what they said because my mind was on the driving.

    Guess I'm a crappy multitasker, but at least I acknowledge that and don't do it lol.
     
  13. macrumors P6

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #13
    The problem is that it's more of a reactionary policy then--how would anyone know if that action would lead to any of that until after the fact?

    ----------

    That's pretty much it unfortunately.
     
  14. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #14
    How does this work with music?

    I always have my iphone or ipod classic hooked up with cassette adapter in my old truck and I usually choose an album before I start driving but on long rides I obviously must select a new album when one finishes...
     
  15. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #15
    Sorry, too late. Distracted driving is already illegal, certainly in California, and probably in every other state in the Union. The other problem with your theory is that it tries to put the cow back in the barn after it has already escaped. A distraction could only be ticketed as the cause of or contributing to some other observed violation.
     
  16. macrumors 65816

    Swift

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #16
    There should be a number of traffic tests and studies of this before they write any more laws. What's the difference between a "smartphone map app" and an old standalone Tom-Tom?
     
  17. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    LA/OC/IE
    #17
    I agree with most of what you said.

    Part of the problem is prior to the specific no mobile phone use while driving laws came into being we already had unsafe driving laws on the books. Let's be honest and understand this is also a revenue generating ploy (I don't care if some say otherwise) since as I think has been pointed out before, if he had consulted a paper map to get around the traffic, this would not have been an issue.

    I really wish the laws were repealed, not so that I could use my phone with impunity, but because too many officers see things in black and white (I guess it's the training, amazingly though, they expect nuance when it pertains to them) and don't evaluate the situation in its totality. But I think if you follow the money, you can imagine there are pressures placed on them by higher powers demanding more traffic stops and citations.

    I'll go a step further. One can can be a distracted driver even while one is supposedly looking at the road as there are plenty of distractions to be had - other cars, billboards, street signs, businesses, people, drowsiness. I think you get the point.
     
  18. macrumors 604

    ArtOfWarfare

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    #18
    But not Disco Zoo, Flappy Birds, or Cut the Rope. Angry Birds is much more distracting than any other iOS game that ever has or will exist.
     
  19. macrumors demi-god

    thatoneguy82

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Location:
    Beach Cities, CA
    #19
    My concern as well. I have BT audio streaming, so no wires, but I do grab my phone to change music (never while driving though).
     
  20. macrumors 65816

    taptic

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #20
    Great. Now can we decide on Google Glass once and for all?
     
  21. macrumors 604

    clayj

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    Location:
    visiting from downstream
    #21
    The answer to that is obvious: You shouldn't be handing out tickets to anyone JUST because they are distracted. The distraction must lead to actual harm. We shouldn't punish people for what might have happened; we should punish them for what DOES happen.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    #22

    What's funny is virtually every place already had such a law, before these distracted driving laws came into effect. Where I am, it's called driving without due care and attention.
     
  23. macrumors 604

    clayj

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    Location:
    visiting from downstream
    #23
    And yes, the punishment for careless/distracted driving that leads to injury or death should be harsh.

    Enough with tickets that really don't deter anyone from driving while distracted and which mostly only serve as revenue enhancements for the police -- let's say that if you were looking at your phone and, as a result, caused an accident that killed someone, you'd be charged with something like aggravated vehicular manslaughter and face a LONG prison term and a LIFETIME ban on being able to operate a motor vehicle.
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    joecool99

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #24
    that's BS. punishments as you propose ruin people's lives and create a lot bigger clusterfuk in the society. eye for eye is such BS. does not solve anything.
    the punishment is the ACT of it happening itself.
     
  25. macrumors P6

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #25
    Most tickets wouldn't apply then if something could be done only after something actually happened. Tickets for going over the speed limit wouldn't apply. Tickets for broken/non-working lights. Tickets for DUI even. That doesn't seem to make much sense really. The whole point of sticking to the laws/regulations and making sure that people stick to them is to avoid all those those bad things, not to wait for them to happen so that then people can be punished for them.
     

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