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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
56,942
19,771



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According to a court ruling from the California Court of Appeals (via Orin Kerr), using a mobile phone such as Apple's iPhone to check or update a mapping or GPS program violates the state's distracted driving law. Vehicle Code 23123, aka the distracted driving law, was developed to prohibit drivers from texting and making handheld calls with a mobile phone.

The ruling came in late March after a driver was cited for driving a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone. The driver, who was accessing the phone for directions, argued that he had not been using the phone for talking or texting, which led to the newly expanded law.
This case requires us to determine whether using a wireless phone solely for its map application function while driving violates Vehicle Codesection 23123. We hold that it does.

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.
The expanded law applies only to mobile phones, not to in-car touch-controlled navigation systems. iPhone users who need to access maps for directions can use Apple's Siri for handsfree GPS access.

Article Link: California Court Rules Anti-Texting Laws Apply to Checking Maps While Driving
 

Joe-Diver

macrumors 6502
Aug 2, 2009
265
0
So, it's legal to use a Garmin mounted to the windshield.....but not an iPhone mounted to the windshield......

Hrmmmmmm
 

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,754
Germany
im not even allowed to touch my iPhone in the car to change music here in Germany yet the iPod Touch would be okay :D
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,798
3,622
5045 feet above sea level
So, it's legal to use a Garmin mounted to the windshield.....but not an iPhone mounted to the windshield......

Hrmmmmmm

Exactly

If they use the logic "the primary evil to is prevent distractions" as the basis for not allowing map access, then why are garmin devices ANY different?

What if I was using an old iphone as a dedicated gps device?
 

ScottHammet

macrumors regular
Jul 22, 2011
130
80
What Next

So, stay tuned for laws that prohibit turning on the radio, changing radio stations, operating the window cranks or buttons, etc. California...the nanniest of the Nanny States.
 

Moshe1010

macrumors 6502a
Jun 27, 2010
863
86
Is watching porn on my iPad mini instead of texting or navigating is legal? If not, I should get at least 300 tickets <3
 

UnfetteredMind

macrumors 6502
Jun 6, 2012
451
77
Can I still eat a Big Mac while shaving with my electric shaver while driving? If so, then I'm good.

Seriously, why not just make a true "distracted driving" law that covers all the stupid stuff people should not be doing while driving?

I'm not sure I see what the difference is between using the built-in Nav unit (many of which are much less intuitive and much slower to interact with, thus taking more of your attention) and a mobile phone.
 

Daniel B

macrumors member
Feb 23, 2010
37
49
Idiots!

What if the bulit-in touch navigation system has a mobile data connection?
 

Achiever

macrumors 6502a
Jan 23, 2008
525
188
Decisions and laws like these make Apple's continued efforts to build Siri support directly into the steering wheel of motor vehicles an imperative part of the iPhone's growth.

Making Siri and Maps work better with those voice commands wouldn't hurt, either.
 

chuckd83

macrumors regular
Jul 12, 2010
174
15
"iPhone users who need to access maps for directions can use Apple's Siri for handsfree GPS access."

You can, but it's not recommended if you want to get to your destination.
 

OtherJesus

macrumors 6502
Sep 28, 2005
378
132
Bay Area, California
If I didn't have so many roots in this crap hippie state of California I would be gone in a flash.

So women can put on make up while they drive or people can shove burgers in their face...
God forbid we look at directions...

When will the hippies learn that utopia is a pipe dream?
 
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Plutonius

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2003
8,800
7,997
New Hampshire, USA
Apple maps give you turn by turn directions so why would you need to look a it ?

Are there some other map apps that don't give turn by turn ?

I can see a bunch of people getting arrested for using traditional car GPSs :D.
 

JetLaw

Cancelled
Jan 21, 2009
246
750
I think the court erred in its reasoning, as it failed to consider the fact that a driver who is in need of directions would have the additional burden and distraction of being lost but for having the ability to get directions from the phone.

Essentially, navigating is a fundamental requirement of driving (unlike making phone calls or sending text), thus, it is faulty logic to treat them as being the same in this context.
 

denaliOnDubs

macrumors regular
Aug 12, 2011
130
4
CO
Exactly... As usual I will continue doing as I please with no consequences... I text as I need, as well as spend a lot of time on the phone in my car for work. These half baked laws are a joke.
 

milo

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2003
6,891
522
I wonder if he was specifically cited for using his hands to input the destination while driving. I would hope that if he did that while parked and had the phone mounted in say a windshield mount and it was just giving directions without him having to interact with it, that would be fine.

And if they really want to crack down on that, the law might as well include hands interacting with a GPS unit while driving.
 

liven2

macrumors regular
Jan 2, 2002
194
68
Bonney Lake, WA
Police Mobile Units?

So I assume all those Police cruzers with those mobile units, and radio systems are not considered driving distractions? I can not tell you how many times I see a police officer driving down the highway looking at their mobile laptops. I am thinking the people enforcing these laws are total fools. No, I am not assuming, they obviously are...
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
The danger is real (and not just to you the driver), and no law can ever be perfect.

But my iPhone is MUCH easier/quicker to navigate with than the standalone Garmins/etc. I see people fumbling with.

Maybe a better law would be: no TYPING or manual text entry on any device by a driver. No texting, no searching for a song, no entering an address--and that goes for Garmins, music players, phones... anything. But you're free to use your navigator/phone in other ways, like skipping songs, toggling the map view, etc. (and of course voice operation).

It's not a perfect rule but at least it's clear and covers a lot of dangerous situations. Pull over if you need to enter information!

Siri saves the day for me. She doesn't always get my more obscure web searches right, and her geofence reminders have... issues... But she's nearly flawless at understanding my navigation queries, including weird restaurant names, and I've never had her mess up an SMS either. (She's less than perfect with song and artist names... but I just shuffle my music and Skip anyway.)
 

rbonzer

macrumors newbie
Nov 23, 2011
17
3
Exactly... As usual I will continue doing as I please with no consequences... I text as I need, as well as spend a lot of time on the phone in my car for work. These half baked laws are a joke.

Most people believe they are above average. Clearly you believe that putting some of your attention elsewhere will not affect your driving. Usually you will be correct.

Perhaps the only deterrent should be complete liability for any damages if you are found to have interacted with your phone within 15 seconds of an accident.

As my teen son will state, nothing is ever my fault, other people are just idiots.
 

APlotdevice

macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2011
3,125
3,804
"iPhone users who need to access maps for directions can use Apple's Siri for handsfree GPS access."

You can, but it's not recommended if you want to get to your destination.

Oh enough with the Apple Maps jokes already. When you get past the hype, overall it's not really any more flawed than Google maps.
 

gluckett

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2009
225
153
The cops need to be held to this as well. At least here in AL, it is illegal to do the texting, emails, etc., yet you will always see cops messing with their laptops, cell phones, etc. It needs to work both ways.
 

macse30

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2009
196
0
If they want to eliminate distraction of the driver, they will need to start with my spouse!
 

japanime

macrumors 68020
Feb 27, 2006
2,365
2,942
Japan
The cops need to be held to this as well. At least here in AL, it is illegal to do the texting, emails, etc., yet you will always see cops messing with their laptops, cell phones, etc. It needs to work both ways.

So, in jurisdictions where citizens are prohibited from carrying handguns in public, police officers also should be prohibited from carrying handguns in public?

Where do we draw the line on this belief that "it needs to work both ways"?
 
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