Californian Traffic Law Banning Mobile Usage While Driving Does Not Apply On Using Mobile Apps


A Californian state law which bans the use of mobile phones has adopted an exception which allows the use of mobile navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze. The court allowed the use of mobile devices while driving only if the app allows the driver to be hands-free while being navigated. Although the ruling makes the use of map apps while driving legal, there are still concerns about whether this ruling will make roads less safe.

In 2012, a driver Steven Spriggs was issued a $165 ticket by the Californian Highway Patrol Officer for using a map app on his mobile while stuck in traffic. Mr. Spriggs challenged the court’s ruling over this traffic law and eventually led the legislators to reevaluate the ruling, which ended adding an exception of the use of mobile map applications while driving.

In a long-written 18-page ordinance, the 5th Appeals Court of California argued in favor of Mr. Spriggs by rejecting the ticket and saying that “he did not violate the statute because receiving voice calls are not allowed, and he was not receiving a call but using the map to navigate his ways”. A separate ruling by State’s traffic court has also banned texting while driving. Mr. Spriggs ensured that he always uses a hands-free device to talk while driving.

In an effort to make roads safer within the United States, traffic laws are gradually evolving to adapt to changes technology and the public’s safety. The State of California is still adamant on restricting the use of even mobile apps while driving and has planned to file an appeal against this exception in the California’s Supreme Court. The office of Californian Attorney General has said that the official appeal is still under review before coming to any conclusion.


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