Court rules GPS use on a cell phone is illegal

by Joe Ninja on April 26, 2013

Fresno County California court has added onto the list of cell phone bans while driving with the addition of GPS use. While already prohibiting talking, texting, and browsing the web on your cell phone the court decided that using your GPS is one in the same regardless of the Apps functionality. 

The court decided this ban after a Fresno man tried to argue a ticket he received by a highway patrol officer for holding his phone and using a GPS App while driving his motor vehicle. The argument was that he wasn't talking, texting, or browsing the web on his phone but simply using his GPS to get directions. After arguing the ticket in court the Fresno, California man eventually lost. The court soon added this specific use case to the list of cell phone bans in order to relieve any future cases. Moving forward if you are driving in California you are no longer allowed to use your cell phone GPS App if it requires you to physically pick it up and hold it. 

The lawsuit led to the court defining the legislation as such: â€œa person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.”

Coincidentally, the legislation does not include other potentially distracting electronic devices (e.g. TomTom and Garmin navigations) due to the fact that they are not classified as a "wireless telephone". 

The ruling by the court could lead to additional bans to include all electronics that requires physical use of a device while driving. 

What Does This Ruling Mean To Those Not Living In California? 

California laws that forbids the physical use of cell phones while driving is momentous for cell phone users nationwide. This law could spread across the nation and drastically change our day to day cell phone usage by requiring  people to use hands free devices at all times when driving. Nationwide the public would be required to purchase hands free accessories (e.g.Car docks and Bluetooth headsets) in order to take full advantage of the features you pay for on your cell phone. Otherwise, everyone will have to face the law and be ticketed every time you are caught physically using your cell phone while driving. 

On the other hand,  by implementing this law nationwide we could see a redirection of technological innovations across mobile manufactures. Technology advancement on cell phones would have to go in the direction of hands free usage similar to the "air gesture" on the new Samsung Galaxy S4 allowing you to change screens without having to ever touch  your cell phone. Innovations such as this are already in the works by manufacturers in order to make cell phone use as convenient as possible in all use cases, but are not as common at the current time. The  Samsung Galaxy S4 is only one phone that has this capability in the U.S.A. at this time. 

Regardless of the direction of cell phone manufacturers, the judicial system has already begun their battle against cell phone use while driving. As it becomes a greater issue nationwide we will begin to see the laws spread to every corner to the U.S.A. requiring all cell phone users to get on board or face the repercussions.