iphonemapscrop.jpgAccording 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.

Top Rated Comments

ScottHammet Avatar
105 months ago
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.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Joe-Diver Avatar
105 months ago
So, it's legal to use a Garmin mounted to the windshield.....but not an iPhone mounted to the windshield......

Hrmmmmmm
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
UnfetteredMind Avatar
105 months ago
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.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EddieCurrent Avatar
105 months ago
Mac Rumors Has It Wrong...Everyone Calm Down

If you read the actual PDF that is linked from the article you will see MR left out an important point that makes all the difference to the story.

"each testified that, while driving, appellant was cited for looking at a
map on his cellular phone while holding the phone in his hand."

The law bars use of a mobile phone IN YOUR HAND.( I know this because I actually live in California). If your phone is on a mount and you touch the screen or interact, you will not get pulled over. That's why the Garmin units don't count. Because they are mounted in the car. I have even talked to police officers I know and they are looking for someone with a phone to their ear, in their hand or a their heads down operating something. They normally do not mess with someone touching something on their dash.

That doesn't mean it is any less distracting, it is just the way they enforce the law.

Some ass-hat in the state assembly is trying to get voice texting banned as well because it is "equally distracting".

That said I do agree with making things hands free. Why? Because of the number of times I have almost been run into and look at the driver and they have their heads facing their laps or are holding a phone to their ear. In fact I would say in my experience that 3/4 of the time some jackass almost runs into me they are frakking with a hand-held device of some sort.

And it isn't a nanny law. Technically a nanny law keeps you from doing something that would only harm yourself, like not wearing a seat belt. This law is meant to prevent you from KILLING another person because you couldn't put down your damn cell phone. That is fair. You cannot safely operate a vehicle with your head facing your lap.

MacRumors was sloppy in reporting this without providing the context to this story and clarifying how the existing law is enforced.:mad:
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JetLaw Avatar
105 months ago
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.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nagromme Avatar
105 months ago
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.)
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
iphone12cameras

Kuo: 2022 iPhones to Feature 48-Megapixel Camera, 8K Video, and 6.1 and 6.7" Sizes With No 5.4" Mini Option

Tuesday April 13, 2021 10:45 pm PDT by
The upcoming 2022 iPhone lineup will feature two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices, with no mini-sized 5.4-inch iPhone, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Two of the iPhones will be high-end models and two of the iPhones will be lower-end models, similar to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple introduced the 5.4-inch...
macos catalina serial number

Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Wednesday April 14, 2021 2:08 am PDT by
Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products. MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling...
apple event particularly innovative article

Gurman: Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Won't Feature Anything 'Particularly Innovative'

Thursday April 15, 2021 1:30 am PDT by
Bloomberg's highly-respected Mark Gurman says that he expects nothing "particularly innovative" or "extraordinary" to launch at Apple's "Spring Loaded" event next week, Tuesday, April 20. Gurman made the remarks during an interview for Bloomberg Technology, in which he reaffirmed that Apple will launch a new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the higher-end model featuring a brand new...
duanrui iphone13 notch samples

More Leaked iPhone 13 Samples Show Smaller Notch, Repositioned Earpiece and Front Camera

Wednesday April 14, 2021 1:06 am PDT by
Leaker known as "DuanRui" has today shared an image of two iPhone 13 "film samples," which show the same rumored smaller notch design coming to the iPhone 13 series that we've seen from other sources. In past tweets, DuanRui has accurately leaked the correct names of the iPhone 12 models and an iPad Air 4 manual revealing its new design, so there's good reason to think this leak is credible, ...
siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event hashflag

Twitter Hashflag for April 20 Apple Event Goes Live

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:21 pm PDT by
Following the overnight Siri leak and subsequent announcement that Apple will hold a media event on Tuesday, April 20, a new Twitter hashflag has appeared to help provide visibility for the event on the platform. For the last several recent events, Apple has utilized hashflags, which are little icons next to hashtags on Twitter, as a way to market its events. The company first started the...
parallels windows 10 arm mac

Parallels 16.5 Can Virtualize ARM Windows Natively on M1 Macs With Up to 30% Faster Performance

Wednesday April 14, 2021 7:00 am PDT by
Parallels today announced the release of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac with full support for M1 Macs, allowing for the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and ARM-based Linux distributions to be run in a virtual machine at native speeds on M1 Macs. Parallels says running a Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview virtual machine natively on an M1 Mac results in up to 30 percent better performance compared ...
iphone 13 pro render rear

iPhone 13 Pro Rumored to Be Thicker and Feature Larger Rear Camera System

Wednesday April 14, 2021 7:07 am PDT by
Tech blog 91Mobiles has obtained 3D renders of what it claims will be the iPhone 13 Pro, revealing a largely familiar design with a few notable changes, including a smaller notch and a significantly larger rear camera system. Following renders of the standard iPhone 13 model from MySmartPrice yesterday, which showed a new diagonal rear camera layout, these renders of the 6.1-inch iPhone 13...
third gen Apple pencil leaked video

Video of Alleged Third-Generation Apple Pencil Leaks Ahead of Apple Event

Friday April 16, 2021 6:13 am PDT by
A video purporting to be of the third-generation Apple Pencil has today been shared online, showing a glossy finish that mirrors previous leaks. New ✏️ ready to 🚢 #AppleEvent @TommyBo50387266 pic.twitter.com/s4RCDwDi5M— 漢尼斯·拉斯納 🇨🇳 (@ileakeer) April 16, 2021 The brief video from Twitter account @ileakeer, spotted by 9to5Mac, shows an Apple Pencil with a glossy finish much like the...