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Reading iPhone Maps While Driving: Is It Ok?

iPhone Maps While Driving | Car Accident Attorneys | Heiting & IrwinWe all know that looking at your phone while driving is extremely distracting and that we shouldn’t do it. Ever. But using your phone as a GPS, glancing at the map every once in a while to make sure you’re on the right track, is inevitable and permitted (even though it may not be entirely safe).

Courts in California, according to a recent article from USA Today, drivers in California can legally read a map on a hand-held cell phone while operating a vehicle.

The California law that prohibits people from using their cell phones while driving got some clarification.

In an incident where a man was ticketed for looking at a map on an iPhone while stuck in traffic, the courts were challenged to rethink the way the law was written, to whom it applies, and when it applies. Convinced that the law did not apply to his actions, the man—who was fined$165 for the offense—challenged the case in traffic court.

After losing both in traffic court and in an appeal to a three-judge panel in Fresno County Superior Court, the ticketed driver took his case to an appellate court with the support of an experienced attorney.

In an 18-page ruling, the appellate judges said that the California law that prohibits people from using their cell phones without a hands-free device could have been written more clearly and does not apply to looking at maps on cell phones. Officially, the law that the officer used to ticket the driver applies to people “listening and talking” on cell phones.

But this case is only the beginning of a longer process. The law apparently needs to be rewritten for ticketing drivers posing a real threat on the roads.

Staring at a phone while driving is a dangerous behavior. It puts both the cell phone user and other drivers at great risk for a serious and even deadly accident. Drivers who make a habit of texting and talking while driving without a hands-free device are the drivers the law originally was meant to address and the ones who should be reprimanded for risky behavior.

Ensnaring drivers for glancing at a map in slow-moving or stopped traffic isn’t now part of the law meant to protect people. According to the man who was ticketed, it is now up to California legislators to address the bigger picture of a case like this and make changes to the law, should they feel it necessary.

What do you think? Should this traffic law be officially changed to exclude drivers using handheld devices to view maps, or is this dangerous like texting and talking while driving? The point of these laws is to prevent car accidents and personal injury due to behavior considered dangerous.

Keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road instead of on a device is vital to preventing car accidents. If you are the victim of a serious auto accident in California, contact experienced Riverside car accident attorneys Heiting & Irwin. We are here to help you in the event of an accident, including those caused by distracted drivers.

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