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Using a smartphone in a car is sometimes legal, rules California judge


News by Andrew Kameka on Friday February 28, 2014.

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Looking at a smartphone while operating a motor vehicle is not automatically illegal because the law does not specify that all activities are banned, ruled a California appeals court. A California resident received a $165 fine because he looked at his iPhone to find an alternative route while stuck in traffic. A police officer issued the ticket under the interpretation that state law prohibits any kind of smartphone use, except for hands-free interactions, while driving.

The ticketing officer's interpretation was incorrect, according to judges. The ruling states that the law is written to ban texting while driving and holding a phone to make calls. The law does not apply to people using phones in other ways, so it is legal for drivers to use their smartphones for navigational purposes.

California is one of many states that outlaws phone use while driving. The ruling doesn't mean that it's suddenly legal for everyone to use their phone anyway possible, so motorists should not take this as a cue to text while driving. However, if someone needs to quickly look at Google Maps or HERE Maps to get navigation, he or she would not be breaking the law as it is currently written.

source: Associated Press, via: Gizmodo

 
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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.

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