The ruling came to light after a case about a man, who was ordered to pay a $160 ticket and other legal fees for using his iPhone to check for map, was heard before the state court.
According to reports, Steven Spriggs was in the middle of a traffic jam near downtown Fresno when he pulled out his iPhone to check for an alternate route within the area to avoid the heavy traffic. Subsequently, he was pulled over by a traffic enforcer and was ticketed for using his hand-held device while driving.
As Spriggs tried to appeal his ticket, arguing that he wasn’t texting or talking during that time, a Commissioner and a three-judge appellate panel of the Superior Court ruled that GPS usage must be “configured to all hands-free listening or talking.”
"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,” stressed by Fresno County Judge Kent Hamlin in a letter he wrote for the panel.
So far, the ruling only applies in Fresno County unless a higher court affirms the decision. Also, Spriggs on the other hand is not yet sure whether he would bring the case further to the California Court of Appeal and the state Supreme Court.
Ironically, in a recently introduced California bill, the proposed law seeks to illegalize hands-free texting while driving as well. So, use of GPS through your iPhone whether it may be a hands-free or not will be both illegalized. Consequently, there is no point of having a convenient map right at your electronic devices since using the same in any ways is strictly prohibited under the California law, noted by a Los Angeles car accident attorney. On the contrary, let us just keep in mind that such laws were designed for safety purposes, so let us just abide with it, he added.