The 5th District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of a driver who was ticketed in January of 2012 for using his maps application while driving. The driver, Steven Spriggs, was stuck in construction traffic when a police officer on a motorbike ticketed him for referencing his map for an alternate route. Frustrated, Spriggs brought the case unsuccessfully to traffic court and an appellate court before acquiring legal help to fight the ticket.
The ticket would only cost Spriggs $165, but he was determined to revise the ambiguous law. In a statement to the Associated Press, he said, “We’re distracted all the time. If our distractions cause us to drive erratically, we should be arrested for driving erratically.”
The current law makes texting and talking on the phone without a handset illegal, but does not address the issue of using maps or other navigation features. It’s likely that the California State Legislature will revise or amend the bill to make it more clear since the word “distraction” can be interpreted to mean many things.
Document: California appeals court says reading cellphone maps while driving is legal